By Tim Brown
CIP Senior Analyst
The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) this week released its annual report on government efficiency, part of which was based upon a 2010 county and city survey regarding the estimated $14 million in local government costs of registering sex offenders.
The Texas Association of Counties /Texas Municipal League (TML) survey was shared with the LBB and numerous other state officials and agencies. Three of the LBB recommendations involved the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) about which TAC and TML partnered on the survey.
The LBB’s analysts made three recommendations in relation to SORNA, which is one part of the 2006 federal Adam Walsh Act (AWA). They are:
Recommendation 1: Amend the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to improve the usefulness of the sex offender registry and eliminate barriers to successful reentry into the community by one or all of the following options: (a) require the Texas Department of Public Safety to include more information on the sex offender registry to help the public distinguish between registrants who are a risk to them and their families versus others whose actions resulted in registry; (b) require the Texas Department of Public Safety to limit the public registry to compliant medium- and high-risk registrants and all non-compliant registrants; and (c) clarify when the court may grant a petitioner’s request for early termination of an individuals’ obligation to register.
Recommendation 2: Amend the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure statute to exempt certain youthful offenders from registration for a sex offense based on consensual sexual conduct if both participants are at least 13 years old and neither participant is more than four years older than the other.
Recommendation 3: Amend the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to prohibit local jurisdictions from establishing additional local residency restrictions for sex offenders.
The LBB annual report is titled “Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency” known as the GEER. On page 358, the GEER references the TAC/TML survey which estimated the cost to counties and cities of implementing SORNA at $14 million.
Previously, in December 2010, the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice released its interim report. In its report, the committee made recommendations similar to those later released by the LBB as part of the GEER, also in part based on the TAC survey.
Recommendation 1: Repeal Article 62.402 (A) and (B) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to enable Texas not to be bound to the federal minimum for registration requirements.
Recommendation 2: Establish a minimum standard for registration requirements, which include the current process for deregistration for those approved by the CSOT [Council on Sex Offender Treatment].
Recommendation 3: Not to implement AWA.
Recommendation 4: Require that all registered sex offenders have risk assessments done.
Recommendation 5: Continue working to improve communication between states regarding registered sex offenders who present a significant risk to community safety.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact Tim Brown at or call (800) 456-5974.