Adwatch: Angle on Privacy & Sex Offenders

In the latest salvos between U-S Senator Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle, each accuses the other of protecting sex offenders.

In the first of a two part Adwatch report, we take a closer look.

"Background Checks" :30 TV spot
Roberta VandeVoort, Las Vegas family therapist:
"I work with kids who have been abused and their stories break my heart, but when the Assembly created a program to weed out sex offenders by helping youth and church groups do background checks on volunteers it passed with only 2 members voting no.
Sharron Angle was one of them.
She said background checks were an invasion of privacy.
Sharron Angle voted to protect the privacy of sex offenders instead of the safety of our kids.
Sharron Angle. Ideas so extreme, they're dangerous.

OK, let's rewind and take a closer look.

" I work with kids who have been abused and their stories break my heart, but when the Assembly created a program to weed out sex offenders by helping youth and church groups do background checks on volunteers it passed with only two members voting no.
Sharron Angle was one of them."

TRUE

This claim is true. The year was 1999. The bill was AB 239. It set up a special fund to help non-profit organizations do background checks on volunteers. The bill did pass 40 to 2. Angle was one of the no votes. The only other nays, interestingly enough, came from Democrats Assemblyman Tom Collins and then Senator, now Congresswoman Dina Titus.

The vote is a matter of record. The question is why.

"She said background checks were an invasion of privacy."

TRUE

It's true Angle raised concerns about privacy issues in a committee hearing nearly three months before the final vote.

The minutes of that hearing note she was concerned with not only privacy, but liability issues in the bill and worried it might make such background checks mandatory. She said she did not want to see the state get involved with things of a first amendment nature.

The bill's sponsor, then Assemblyman Dennis Nolan, answered that the bill sought a balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of innocent children. The bill, he said, did not mandate background checks, but in any case potential liability would exist, he argued, whether or not they were done.

The committee vote to send the bill to the floor was unanimous, but when the final vote came up months later. Angle voted no.

"Sharron Angle voted to protect the privacy of sex offenders instead of the safety of our kids."

OVERREACHING

It may be too much to reduce the choice to that simple equation.

The Angle campaign's answer is that she supported the spirit of the bill, but worried about unintended consequences in regards to personal privacy and costs."

We could find nothing in the record about her concerns about costs, though the bill required a $200-thousand dollar appropriation from the general fund at a time when the state was going through another budget shortfall.

Almost all of the state's lawmakers apparently thought it money well spent. Angle and possibly two others didn't.

"Sharron Angle. Ideas so extreme, they're dangerous."

As always, that's your call.

Tomorrow, we'll look at an Angle ad that accuses Senator Reid of wanting to give sex offenders Viagra.


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