The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the Wetterling Act) is a United States law that requires states to implement a sex offender and crimes against children registry. It was enacted as part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Under this law, states had discretion to disseminate registration information to the public, but dissemination was not required. Congress amended the Wetterling Act in 1996 with Megan’s Law, requiring law enforcement agencies to release information about registered sex offenders that law enforcement deems relevant to protecting the public. Also passed by Congress in 1996 was the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act. This act requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to establish a national database of sex offenders to assist local enforcement agencies in tracking sex offenders across state lines.
In California, Assembly Bill 488 (Nicole Parra), sponsored by the Attorney General
now provides the public with Internet access to detailed information on registered
This expanded access allows the public for the first time to use their personal computers to view information on sex offenders required to register with local law enforcement under California's Megan's Law. Previously, the information was available only by personally visiting police stations and sheriff offices or by calling a 900 toll-number. The new law was given final passage by the Legislature on August 24, 2004 and signed by the Governor on September 24, 2004.
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