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ACT NO. 49

(H.144)

Crimes; Sex Offenders

This act amends the laws relating to sex offender registration and notification to bring those laws into compliance with federal requirements. Changes of note include:

Requiring lifetime registration for recidivists, rapists and sexually violent predators. Lifetime registrants would be eligible to petition the court to be removed from notification (not registration) after a period of 10 years. All other sex offenders would remain on the registry for a period of 10 years.

Requiring nonresident sex offenders who cross into Vermont for the purpose of employment, carrying on a vocation or being a student to register as a sex offender in Vermont.

Requiring state participation in the National Sex Offender Registry Program managed by the FBI.

The act also creates a new procedure whereby a person convicted of an offense involving a sexual act may be compelled to submit to testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A victim of a crime involving a sexual act may petition the court for such an order.

In addition to providing testing of the offender, the act also provides a number of services to a victim of a crime involving a sexual act, including testing for infectious diseases, prophylaxis treatment and counseling. Victims may receive these services immediately after the crime, regardless of whether a suspect has been identified. The center for crime victims services will be the primary coordinating agent for the services to be provided. The Department of Public Safety will reimburse the center for crime victims services for costs of any services provided in accordance with this act in an amount up to $175,000.00 per year, exclusive of any general funds or federal funds specifically appropriated for HIV and AIDS services and prevention.

Finally, the act updates the prostitution statutes with gender-neutral language. The statutes had not been amended in a number of years and used language that presumed that only females were prostitutes.

Effective Date: Sections 1 through 11 of the act, pertaining to sex offender registration and notification, take effect on September 1, 2001 and do not have any retroactive application. Sections 12 through 19, pertaining to testing of sex offenders, victim services and amendments to the prostitution statutes, take effect June 12, 2001.