House Committee Passes Adam Walsh Reauthorization

The House Judiciary Committee on July 18 passed a bill extending the authorization of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act through 2017.

The committee voted in favor of several amendments to the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, three of which concern juvenile offenders. These three amendments would authorize a study on the public safety impact and consequences of long-term registration of juvenile sex offenders, reauthorize funding for treatment of juvenile sex offenders, and allow states to decide whether to publicly disclose information about juveniles adjudicated delinquent who are registered as sex offenders.

A fourth amendment allows Byrne Justice Assistance Grant money withheld from states for noncompliance with the Adam Walsh Act to be redistributed to local governments.

The bill would reauthorize the Sexual Offender Management Assistance program, which provides grants to jurisdictions implementing and managing a sex offender registry. The legislation also would authorize funding for the U.S. Marshal Service and other federal law enforcement agencies charged with helping enforce sex offender registry requirements, and allow juveniles adjudicated delinquent to apply for their removal from registries after 15 years, as opposed to 25.

At the same markup session, the committee also considered legislation to reauthorize the Byrne JAG program. That bill reduces the annual funding level from slightly less than $1.1 billion to $800 million and authorizes the program through 2017. Members voted the reauthorization bill out of committee by voice vote.

Both pieces of legislation will move on for consideration by the full House of Representatives.