Jessica’s Law authors George and Sharon Runner have responded to the recent decision by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to stop enforcing Jessica’s Law residency restrictions statewide:
“We’re disappointed by the Corrections Department’s sweeping decision to stop enforcing the people’s will as expressed in Jessica’s Law.
“The residency restrictions in Jessica’s Law help keep our neighborhoods and children safe and provide important piece of mind for California’s families.
“Jerry Brown supported Jessica’s Law when he was Attorney General. It’s disappointing that his administration would go so far beyond what the court required.
“We intend to reintroduce our legislation granting discretion to local governments in these matters. We urge the Legislature to act on it immediately to protect the safety of California’s kids.
“In the meantime, we encourage CDCR to use good judgment in placing parolees.”
Knowing sex offenders might challenge Jessica’s Law, George Runner introduced Senate Bill 54 in 2010 to give local governments increased flexibility regarding residency requirements. Senator Sharon Runner took authorship of the bill in 2011. It was subsequently killed by the Legislature. The California Supreme Court decision does not provide local governments the flexibility to craft a more appropriate alternative for their communities.
Runner and his wife, Senator Sharon Runner, are the authors of the voter-approved Proposition 83, otherwise known as Jessica’s Law. In addition to mandatory residency restrictions for sex offenders, the law includes many important public safety reforms such as strengthened sexually violent predator laws and increased parole terms. The California Supreme Court’s decision in early March only relates to the residency requirements in Jessica’s Law.
Both George and Sharon Runner continue to stand behind the package of reforms that have made California’s communities safer and are opposed to any efforts to undermine them.
George and Sharon Runner are the first husband and wife in California history to have served concurrently in the Legislature. George serves as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization. Sharon represents the 21st District in the California State Senate.