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Report To The People

Bill Strengthens Sex Offender Registration Requirements,
Allows GPS Monitoring

By Tommy Reynolds

Sometimes problems in our laws are brought to our attention in the most tragic manner. Such is the case with the circumstances that brought Senate Bill 2732 before the Mississippi Legis-lature during this session.
The bill, entitled “Leno-ra’s Law,” seeks to close the loopholes that provide sex offenders opportunity to skip registering their whereabouts as they move from community to community.
The measure is named in honor and memory of Ms. Lenora Edhegard, 60, of Brandon, who was murdered in her reservoir-area home last fall by a neighbor who was an unregistered, convicted sex offender.
The suspect had been living next door to Ms. Edhegard for over a month when he took her life. He had registered as a sex offender at a false address in Hinds County some months prior, but never notified authorities of his true whereabouts.
Current law states that a convicted sex offender must report to the local sheriff or a Driver’s License office and re-register with current in-formation. The offender must be photographed every 90 days, and must give advanced notice if moving. However, law enforcement do not believe these laws are specific enough to keep offenders from disappearing from proper jurisdiction.
Senate Bill 2732 seeks to remedy this problem. It will revise and strengthen sex offender registration obligations and require GPS monitoring of individuals who have committed certain types of offenses.
GPS monitoring allowed under the bill will help to assure residents that the whereabouts of dangerous sex offenders are known for as long as they are deemed dangerous to the public.
I voted for this bill to pass out of the House Judiciary A Committee. The full House will take it up next. Since our committee amended the original version to strengthen the Bill’s GPS requirements, the final version will likely come from a conference committee later in the session.
A  number of other Senate bills were voted out of the Judiciary A Commit-tee that should see wide support in the House.
Senate Bill 2725 seeks to remedy a situation whereby our local volunteer fire departments, even though they offer protection on behalf of counties and towns, did not have the same liability protection as our governmental entities.  This measure will place the volunteer fire departments under the state’s Tort Claims Act, which provides greater protections for our firefighters in the line of duty. I voted for this measure and believe it is the right thing to do for these groups who offer their time and courage to come to the aid of our rural areas and small towns.
Senate Bill 2223 identifies the crime of terrorism as a capital offense, which means a person convicted of this crime could face the death penalty. The bill defines an act of terrorism as one that is committed to influence the policy of a governmental entity by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a governmental entity by mass destruction or assassination. Also included is the instance of a crime committed to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.
Although it is difficult to think of a terrorist attack occurring here in Mississippi, I believe this bill will enable us to bring the harshest penalty against anyone who commits such a crime.
In floor action last week, I was among members who voted to pass House Bill 992, which provides a tax incentive to physicians and nurse practitioners who begin practices in critical shortage areas or underserved areas.  It is hoped this bill will increase access to medical care in rural areas by recruiting more medical professionals.
Please contact me on these or any other issues at 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965 or by email at  I can also be reached by telephone at (662) 473-2571.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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