HBA-JEK S.B. 1206 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 1206 By: Jackson Corrections 4/12/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE All fifty states now require released sex offenders to register with law enforcement or state agencies in an effort to inform law enforcement members, victims, school districts, and other citizens of the presence of sex offenders in their community. As part of the sex offender registration process, many states use sex offender screening tools to assign a numeric risk level that predicts the offender's level of risk to the community. Texas currently uses a screening tool to assign a released offender a numeric risk level of one or two. A ranking system with a range of levels between one and three would give the state more flexibility in its ability to describe the risk of released sex offenders, and would better conform to the ranking systems adopted by many other states. Senate Bill 1206 modifies provisions regarding the sex offender screening tool in Texas and the numeric ratings assigned to released sex offenders. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS Senate Bill 1206 requires the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) or the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), rather than the risk assessment review committee, to determine a sex offender's risk to the community using the sex offender screening tool. The bill modifies the numerical ratings used to assess sex offenders so that a person receives a rating on a level of one to three that corresponds with the number of points the person scores on the screening tool. A level one indicates a person poses a low danger to the community, a level two indicates a moderate risk, and a level three indicates that the person poses a serious danger to the community and will continue to engage in criminal sexual conduct (Arts. 62.03 and 62.035). S.B. 1206 provides that the risk assessment review committee (committee) functions in an oversight capacity, and requires the committee to monitor the use of the sex offender screening tool in Texas, ensure that staff are trained on the use of the screening tool, analyze other screening tools as they become available, and revise or replace the existing screening tool if warranted. The bill authorizes TDCJ, TYC, or a court to override a risk level only if the entity believes that the risk level assessed is not an accurate prediction and the entity documents the reason for the override in the offender's case file. The bill requires records and files regarding sex offenders, including sealed juvenile justice records, to be released to the court, TDCJ, or TYC for the purpose of determining the person's risk level, but specifies that open meetings provisions do not apply to such records and files (Art. 62.035). S.B. 1206 provides that a member of the judiciary or an employee or officer of TDCJ, TYC, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, the Department of Public Safety, a community supervision and corrections department, or a juvenile probation department is immune from liability for good faith conduct related to the sex offender registration program (Art. 62.091). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.