Senate joins House in approving governor's sex offender reforms

The Maryland General Assembly has given its blessing to all of Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed sex offender reforms.

The Senate yesterday joined the House of Delegates in passage of a plan that adds more information to the state's publicly available sex offender registry and of a measure to reconstitute a long-dormant Sex Offender Advisory Board. O'Malley, a Democrat, was criticized earlier this year by some lawmakers for not activating the board sooner.

The Senate has also signed off on "lifetime supervision" of certain violent and repeat sex offenders who leave prison.

Sex offender reforms have been a hot topic this session, with lawmakers vowing to take up the cause after an 11-year-old Eastern Shore girl was killed in December. A convicted sex offender has been charged with capital murder in Sarah Foxwell's death.

Although O'Malley's package is nearly ready for his signature, two major sex offender proposals by other lawmakers remain in a key Senate committee as the legislative session winds down. It is unclear whether the Senate will OK a House plan to eliminate good-time prison credits for the worst sex offenders and extend prison sentences for child molesters.

Chairman Brian E. Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, said his Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee may vote on those bills later today.

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