The House Judiciary Committee heard two bills today that serve to strengthen criminal penalties for sexual assault and murder.
Karen’s Law: House Bill 819, HD1 – RELATING TO CRIME. This bill mandates that minors aged 15-17 be tried as adults in cases of first and second degree murder. The bill passed unanimously in the House Human Services committee hearing last week. The bill was inspired by the case of Karen Ertell, who was found murdered by a teenage neighbor with whom she had repeated problems. The committee deferred the bill for decision making on Friday, 2/13/09.
Jessica’s Law: House Bill 620 – RELATING TO SENTENCING. This bill authorizes the court at sentencing to require a person with three or more convictions of sexual assault in the first degree to wear a global positioning system transmitter for up to 10 years after the person’s release from prison. Currently, 41 states have enacted similar legislation; it is referred to as “Jessica’s Law” in other states. The committee passed the bill with amendments, including changing the "gps" terminology to "electronic monitoring device" and putting on a defective date of 1/1/2046.