‘Chelsea’s Law’ needs adopted at federal level

Published 7:34 am Monday, September 13, 2010

California’s lawmakers often seem to be disconnected from the rest of the nation, passing legislation to which the majority of Americans don’t agree.

Chelsea’s Law — named for a 17-year-old high school student who was raped and murdered by a man who should have never been on the streets because of similar crimes — is not one of those.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the measure last week, strengthening the state’s laws against sexual predators and helping ensure that the worst violators don’t ever slip through the cracks of the legal system.

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At its heart, this law would tighten parole requirements and guarantee mandatory life sentences for sexual predators who prey on children under the age of 14.

Laws like this that protect our children and keep predators off the streets transcend party lines and overcome partisan politics. The fact that the California Assembly passed it 72-0, just a few months away from mid-term elections, is proof of that.

Now, legislators in Washington, D.C., need to follow suit and adopt a similar hard-line approach to sexual predators.

Then, our law enforcement and legal systems must work to ensure that these laws are enforced to the fullest.

One of the biggest challenges right now is how the laws of individual states work with each other. It must be guaranteed that violators are dealt with swiftly and harshly.

Chelsea deserves this. All our children deserve it.