17th may, 2006
RED BLUFF - In her fourth official trip to Red Bluff, state Senator and candidate for lt. governor Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, met with the Tehama County Board of Supervisors and local law enforcement officials to announce new bills that tackles two of the state's biggest problems.
"This three-bill package focuses on threats to public health and safety that affect all Californians in every community in the state: the illegal production, sale, and use of methamphetamine; and the difficulty of tracking high-risk sex offenders who have been released from prison," said Speier outside of the Tehama County Courthouse on Tuesday.
Referring to the production, sale and use of crystal methamphetamine as a "sore which has festered into a metastasizing cancer," she noted that the drug is linked to other issues such as identity theft, child neglect, their transmission of HIV-AIDS and toxic pollution. Speier said she is authoring two pieces of legislation aimed at methamphetamine.
The first, SB 1299 would target methamphetamine production by making it a felony to possess chemicals like pseudoephedrine and red phosphorus with the knowledge that they will be used for the production of the drug.
"The current state law makes it a felony to possess these chemicals with the intent to personally manufacture methamphetamine," explained Speier. "But its not a crime to possess these chemicals with the intent to sell them to someone else who will use them to cook meth. This loophole in the current law hamstrings DAs, police chiefs and other law enforcement officials in their efforts to end domestic meth production."
The bill would establish a state-wide anti-meth public information campaign that would use television, radio and the Internet to deter meth use among high risk communities. It is sponsored by Attorney General Bill Lockyer, the California District Attorneys Association and the California Narcotic Officers Association.
"Californians rightfully expect their communities to be safe from drug-related crimes," she said. "California families also have the right to live in communities where it is safe to raise their children."
Speier pointed out that the state is home to more than 85,000 registered sex offenders.
"Most of them pose a clear and present danger to our children and other innocent citizens unable to protect themselves against vicious attacks," said Speier.
Last year, Speier authored a bill which was made into law which authorized state parole officials and county probation to utilize GPS monitoring systems for high-risk offenders. This year, she is introducing another bill, SB 1178, requiring parole and probation authorities to place GPS devices on all sex offenders who assess at moderate to high risk of re-offending.
"At least 27,000 sex offenders are presently serving prison sentences, and most will be paroled back into the very community they committed their crime," said Speier. "8,100 of these prisoners are child molesters and pedophiles, and all have committed unspeakable crimes against innocent children, and most will be released from prison before their victims graduates from high school."
Currently, Tehama and the adjacent counties of Butte and Shasta do not utilize GPS monitoring. She noted that in Tehama County alone there are 170 released sex offenders.
Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker said that SB 1299 will help out a lot. He also used the gathering to announce a new tracking program the department is ready to put into place.
"Megan's Law is a passive system," said Parker. "Currently, people can come to the sheriff's office and review the Web site."
The new system will allow people to register their addresses or schools and receive an automatic e-mail if an offender moves into the area. Parker said that that the system is a first in the state.