STOP SEX OFFENDERS | NJ: Voters clear way for online registry of sex offenders
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NJ: Voters clear way for online registry of sex offenders.

November 8, 2000

TRENTON -- Details about convicted sex offenders could be posted online, thanks to one of two changes to the state constitution approved by New Jersey voters Tuesday.

Public questions this year asked voters to provide a steady source of funding for $3.75 billion in transportation improvements and to clear the way for a new state law that would allow information about released sex offenders to be posted on the Internet.

With 18 percent of districts reporting, the Megan's Law proposal was being approved by a 4-1 ratio. Voters favored the transportation funding measure by nearly a 2-1 ratio.

Since 1980 New Jersey voters have rejected only seven of 84 ballot questions. And neither of this year's questions faced serious opposition.

Question 2, which would permit creation of an online sex-offender registry, was publicly supported by Maureen Kanka, whose daughter's death in 1994 spurred the passage of Megan's Law in New Jersey and elsewhere.

New Jersey would become the first state to amend its constitution to allow such a registry. It could include sex offenders' names, addresses, physical descriptions, and criminal histories.

Nearly two dozen other states already post information on the Internet and allow searches by name or address, but their laws did not involve changing their constitutions. Supporters in New Jersey say state and federal courts have so sharply restricted dissemination of information that the only remedy is an amendment.

The second question asked voters to approve continued funding for the Transportation Trust Fund. The $3.75 billion program would improve highways, bridges, and public transportation systems. Voters needed to approve a change in the state constitution that would send a dedicated portion of the sales tax and fuel tax to fund it.

Source: Bergen Record Corp., by John P. McAlpin.