"Jessica's Law"—a bill that would require electronic monitoring for certain sex offenders—could advance in the New Jersey Senate when it comes up for a committee vote on June 4, an activist said.
The bill (S-380) concerns the sentencing of sex offenders and those who harbor them. It seeks to create child protection zones.
After a long battle for a vote, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee is due to consider the measure next month, said Galloway resident Anna Jezycki, who has fought for the measure to become law.
“I spoke with Sen. (Donald) Norcross last week and he told me it would come before a vote June 4,” Jezycki said. “There’s a couple of (bills) out there, but the one we’re standing behind is coming up for a vote.”
A representative from Sen. Norcross’ office confirmed that the bill is being considered.
The measure is named for Florida 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered by a registered sex offender in 2005. Many states have enacted “Jessica’s Law” since; New Jersey is one of the few remaining that have not.
There are currently three bills pending before the New Jersey Senate that would establish the Jessica Lunsford Act in the state.
Jezycki and a citizen committee pushed strongly to get the Jessica Lunsford Act passed into law in New Jersey. She led an effort to get letters mailed to all the state's municipalities urging them to support the act.
She was disappointed when, in 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court invalidated a law that would allow municipalities to ban sex offenders from living within a designated distance of any school, park, playground, public library or day care center.
Since then, Jezycki has been trying to get a form of the Jessica Lunsford Act passed to no avail, and was getting frustrated.
Norcross became the chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee earlier this year, and when the bill first came to his attention, it stuck out as something he was in favor of.
Those involved are happy about the possibility of the vote, but they also know anything can happen between now and June 4.
“I signed 840 papers and sent them out to every legislator and every mayor,” said Galloway Mayor Don Purdy, who has often heard from Jezycki on the issue. “If it gets to the floor, I believe it will pass."