Texas declines to join sex-offender tracking program - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas declines to join sex-offender tracking program

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Texas is refusing to join a nationwide push to track sex offenders. Lawmakers say the program would cost more than the federal funding they would receive.

Parents like, Jennifer Bien and Lisette Vergara are shocked that Texas won't link their sex offender registry nationwide, so they'd have a better way of tracking sex offenders moving in and out of the state.

"You want to have as much information as possible. You want to know who's around your kids," said Vergara.

When President George W. Bush signed into law "The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act" it was supposed to compile all sex offender registry information and link it to all 50 states.

The federal government was willing to fund the nationwide program but a handful of states including Texas are ignoring the program all together.

APD's sex offender apprehension and registration unit says they'd like to be a part of the federal government program.

"It would be helpful if we had more officers to track these guys 24 hours a day. But what's feasible, budgets, I think we do a wonderful job with what we have," said APD Sgt. Elizabeth Donegan.

State lawmakers say the cost of revamping their system would cost $38 million more than the federal funding.

For some mom's like Bien, they say state lawmakers have their priorities all wrong. They say no price tag should be on the safety of children.

"Safety should be first, our children need to be first and foremost. No amount of saved money is worth compromising our children's safety in any economical environment," said Bien.

The deadline to comply with the law was back in July 2011. Thirty-four states have still been unable to meet the full requirements and five states including Texas have decided to not even try and forfeit the law enforcement funding.

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