Douglas moves ahead to protect kids

MONTPELIER Gov. Jim Douglas is again urging the Vermont Senate Committee on the Judiciary to consider his 23-point Safe Communities Action Plan as it prepares to make final recommendations following several recent hearings on sex offender issues. Douglas last week sent the committee draft legislation necessary to fully implement his 23-point plan, some of which can be done administratively. Douglas reforms were first presented to the senate committee by Commissioners Tremblay, Hofmann and Dale on Aug. 7. Our Safe Communities 23-point action plan reflects my administrations commitment to working with the legislature to reform our criminal justice system and strengthen Vermonts sex offender laws in every way possible, the governor said. The work of the senate committee, coupled with my administrations detailed 23-point legislative package, will allow the legislature to take swift and comprehensive action when it returns in January. In addition to enacting a civil confinement law to prevent the release of predators, expanding the sex offender registry and creating a Vermont-style Jessicas Law to enhance mandatory minimums, Douglas has proposed 20 additional reforms. They range from preventing child abusers from being licensed for professions, to a specially trained team of probation and parole officer dedicated exclusively to monitoring sex offenders. Douglas said his administration would continue to work closely with Senator Dick Sears (D-Bennington) and his committee to agree on a comprehensive package of real reforms, with the expectation of acting quickly when the Legislature returns in January. We will work together to take action that reassures parents, families, and communities that we are doing everything possible to protect Vermonts children, the Governor said.

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