Ruling doesn’t affect current Megan’s Law

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that a prior version of Megan’s Law was unconstitutional, it did not affect the current law in place.

The legislation originally was passed in 2004, but the court found it violated the state’s single-subject rule that bills keep to one subject, and so overturned it. However, the Legislature passed a stronger version of the law in 2011, which replaced the earlier legislation.

David Freed, Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association president, assured the revised law still is in effect.

“In reality, virtually nothing has changed with regard to the registration requirements for those who commit sex offenses in Pennsylvania,” Freed said. “Because of the proactive work of the legislature, executive branch and law enforcement stakeholders, Megan’s Law is alive and well in Pennsylvania.”

State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, said there had been some loopholes in the former law, such as a “glitch in our registration rules that would allow (sexually violent) transient workers to never have to register.”

As they were aware of the pending ruling, the revised legislation was passed following the single-subject rule so there was no gap due to the court’s decision, Everett said.

“Don’t panic – we already took care of it,” Everett said of the law.

Megan’s Law enables the identification and registration of sexual offenders, also made available through a website, and the notification of communities when sexually violent predators move into neighborhoods.