Senator LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Authorizes release of sex offender registration information to DHS and county welfare agencies.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning sex offender registration records and amending P.L.1994, c.133.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 5 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-5) is amended to read as follows:
5. a. Records maintained pursuant to this act shall be open to any law enforcement agency in this State, the United States or any other state and may be released to:
(1) the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families for use in carrying out its responsibilities under law; and
(2) the Department of Human Services and county and municipal welfare agencies for exclusive use in placing homeless families and persons in emergency shelters, which include but are not limited to, hotels and motels.
Law enforcement agencies in this State shall be authorized to release relevant and necessary information regarding sex offenders to the public when the release of the information is necessary for public protection in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-6 et seq.).
b. An elected public official, public employee, or public agency is immune from civil liability for damages for any discretionary decision to release relevant and necessary information, unless it is shown that the official, employee, or agency acted with gross negligence or in bad faith. The immunity provided under this section applies to the release of relevant information to other employees or officials or to the general public.
c. Nothing in this act shall be deemed to impose any liability upon or to give rise to a cause of action against any public official, public employee, or public agency for failing to release information as authorized in subsection d. of this section.
d. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent law enforcement officers from notifying members of the public exposed to danger of any persons that pose a danger under circumstances that are not enumerated in this act.
(cf: P.L. 2006, c.47, s.23)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Currently, Megan's law requires county prosecutors to assess a sex offender's risk of reoffense and categorize that offender as low risk (Tier I), moderate risk (Tier II) or high risk (Tier III). The records and files containing the information and documentation used to make this assessment currently are available to law enforcement agencies and to the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families.
This bill would expand this procedure to require that these records be made available to the Department of Human Services and county and municipal welfare agencies for the exclusive use in placing homeless families and person in emergency shelters, which include but are not limited to, hotels and motels.