Under Assembly Bill 1844, offenders convicted of sex crimes that inflict bodily harm on a minor under the age of 14 would face a required sentence of life without parole. The bill, known as "Chelsea's Law," also includes provisions to increase tracking of paroled sex offenders and up prison sentencing requirements for other sex crimes.
The legislation was sparked by the murders of two Southern California teens -- 17-year-old Chelsea King and 14-year-old Amber Dubois. Convicted sex offender John Albert Gardner III has pleaded guilty to killing both teens.
"The heartbreaking loss of Chelsea earlier this year revealed a broken public safety system, and it called our entire community and our entire state to action," Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, the bill's author, said in a statement. "With the King family's unwavering dedication and with the good faith of many who contributed to shaping this measure, we've built a solution that will protect children and spare other families from tragedy."
The Assembly, which passed the bill 65-0 in June, must OK new amendments before it is sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kelly King, right, of Poway, the mother of murder victim of Chelsea King, seen in photograph, wipes her eyes during a news conference she and her husband, Brent King, left attended at the Capitol in Sacramento on April 12, where they spoke in support of "Chelsea's Law." (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)