Tuesday, May 09, 2006

License to abuse

As noted here, a bill requiring a "readily distinguishable" license for registered sex offenders is about to become law in Kansas:

TOPEKA, Kan. - The next time a registered sex offender gets a Kansas driver's license, it will look different from the one normally issued.

That was among several provisions included in compromise legislation sent Friday night to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is expected to sign it. The House passed it 119-0, followed by the Senate with a 40-0 vote.

The bill specifies that registered sex offenders receive a "readily distinguishable" driver's license annually. How the license will be different is to be determined by the Department of Revenue's Division of Vehicles.

Driver's licenses are usually issued every six years, but sex offenders will be required to renew them annually.

The bill also requires sex offenders to report every six months to their local sheriff to update personal information and be photographed.
...


Yet another law that will do nothing to protect the public, that will actually make things worse, but lawmakers simply cannot resist the madness.

First off, this is a shaming law, which Megan's Law was not intended to be. The situations where a driver's license gets displayed tend not to be situations where there is any risk -- when pulled over for a moving violation (where presumably the policeman will have that information anyway), or as ID at an airport.

Now the acquisition and display of a Kansas driver's license is something to be avoided. It's not hard to think of ways, legal or otherwise, in which that can be done. (There's even an exploitable loophole, but I'm not telling.)

The key point is that this element of this law will now have the registered sex offenders thinking of ways to avoid the envisioned compliance. That is dangerous; that keeps them feeling they are "outside" of society and there is no way back in.

Ans as with other measures applied after the fact, noted in a previous posting, it also tells those who are trying to go straight that there is no amount of good behavior that will prevent their lives from getting worse.

Also note the extreme silliness of requiring an annual update in the very same bill that requires twice-annual re-registration in person, and photograph!

I don't think even Kansas lawmakers, who voted unanimously in both chambers for this incredibly poorly thought-out bill, are in Kansas anymore, Toto.

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