An Inland Empire lawmaker today introduced a bill that would require convicted sex offenders to have a state-issued identification card or driver's license in their possession at all times.
"Requiring the most dangerous sex offenders to carry a form of identification is the most effective way for law enforcement to determine a suspect's registration status," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Beaumont. "Most registered sex offenders will re-offend, which means we have to take a proactive approach when dealing with the worst of the worst."
Assembly Bill 1695 targets offenders whose convictions stemmed from a violent sexual attack or the sexual assault of a child.
Under California Penal Code section 290, anyone convicted of a sexual offense in California must register their address with law enforcement and notify authorities whenever they relocate.
"This bill says they also have to have a state ID on them," John Sobel, the assemblyman's chief of staff, told City News Service. "That way, when law enforcement officials are searching for someone, and they happen to stop someone covered under this bill, that person will have an ID, and it will be easy to identify him or her."
In the 2011 legislative session, Cook introduced AB 885, which would have required sex offenders to possess an ID or driver's license with a scannable strip onto which their registration status would have been encoded, permitting authorities to immediately determine their identity.
Cook reasoned that such a device would enhance law enforcement officials' ability to locate suspects during a search for a missing child or determine whether convicted sex offenders were violating their parole.
The bill was voted down in the Assembly Committee on Transportation, where a majority of lawmakers said the program would be too expensive, according to Sobel.
AB 1695 is slated to be heard by the same committee in the next few weeks.