SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A bill that would give local communities more say in where sexually violent predators (SVP) should live is making its way through the State Senate.
"The intent of this bill is to make the program stronger and keep communities safe," Senator Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said.
Atkins, who authored bill 1034, said local governments should be more involved when it comes to the placement of SVPs.
Currently, the California Department of State Hospitals decides where an SVP should live once they're granted conditional release. The department may call on the county to assist in the housing search.
Instead, Atkins' bill would require a housing committee made up of the local district attorney, law enforcement, county counsel, and other stakeholders to evaluate individuals' and community safety needs.
"We are then able to hold the state accountable in terms of the contractor that's seeking housing," Atkins said.
The lack of local oversight of the SVP placement process has led to community outcry in years past.
In 2021, a Mount Helix neighborhood protested the placement of two SVPs at homes surrounded by families and near schools.
The same issue caused outrage in Rancho Bernardo a few months later.
"In the case of San Diego, city council members didn't have a role and were broadsided by this," she said.
The incidents led county supervisors to vote to further oppose SVP placements until local jurisdictions are able to fully participate in the placement process.
As for Atkins' bill, it recently passed the Senate Public Safety Committee. The Senate President said she's confident it'll receive full approval.