05/21/2010 05:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bill Ritter Vetoes Sex Offender Bill

Governor Bill Ritter has vetoed House Bill 1364, which would have extended the life of the state's Sex Offender Management Board, over a controversial amendment inserted into the bill by Denver Senator Joyce Foster.

Foster inserted an amendment during the bill's second reading that would have allowed sex offenders a choice between three treatment options.

The amendment came under fire when it was disclosed that Foster's brother is a registered sex offender living in Denver.

Ritter says he vetoed the bill because it does not address the "systematic management and treatment of adult sex offender."

From Ritter's statement:

The SOMB Standards are designed to establish a basis for the systematic management and treatment of adult sex offenders. The legislative mandate of the SOMB and the primary goals of the Standards are to improve community safety and protect victims. The language of the amendment discussed above does not, in my view, adequately provide for the systematic treatment of offenders. In fact, allowing offenders to choose from a list of three providers potentially degrades systematic management and treatment, based on specific evaluation tools and accepted practices.

Furthermore, while this amendment appears to be aimed at striking a balance between public safety and the legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood of success in treatment by improving treatment matching for offenders, this proposal was not included in the sunset review report for the SOMB, nor was it thoroughly vetted during the legislative process, a process that includes an opportunity for lawmakers to hear from experts in the field. On an issue that is this critical to public safety and the overall success of the sex offender treatment program, this failure of adequate vetting and thorough debate constitutes a fatal flaw with the bill.

For these reasons, I am vetoing House Bill 10-1364.