Mont. AG's sex offender bill signed into law

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 1, 2013

HELENA, Mont. (Legal Newsline) - Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced on Wednesday that Gov. Steve Bullock signed one of Fox's bills into law closing a loophole in a previous state sex offender registry law.

Fox previously introduced SB 213, which closes what he says was a loophole in current Montana law for felons who may pose a continued risk to Montana residents. The law required sexual or violent offenders from other states moving to Montana to register in the state as a sexual or violent offender after being released from supervision. A loophole allowed the offender to forego providing a DNA sample to the Montana state DNA database.

As a result of the legal shortcoming, some cases may have gone unsolved because of the lack of DNA samples in the database, he says. Wisconsin, Idaho, Colorado and Montana were the only four states in the U.S. that had yet to close the loophole.

"This new legislation gets Montana in synch with the laws of most other states, and may lead law enforcement and prosecutors to criminals who should be in prison for unsolved crimes," Fox said. "It also prevents them from committing future harm against our children or other Montanans."

The law will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Fox thanked Bullock and members of the legislature for their help in passing the law.

"I want to thank Governor Bullock for his commitment to keeping Montana's families safe, Senator Cliff Larsen for carrying this important legislation on behalf of our office, and the Montana Legislature for its unanimous support of the bill," Fox said.

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