Spurred by the murders of four women allegedly at the hands of two convicted sex offenders who slipped out of their tracking devices while out of custody, state Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, and Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine, have proposed legislation that aims to improve electronic monitoring of defendants and toughen penalties for those who skirt the law.

Bates wants to make it a felony for convicted sex offenders who slip out of or disable Global Positioning System devices.

Wagner has proposed legislation that would establish a database of sex offenders monitored by GPS so that all law enforcement agencies could better track their movements.

The reforms come while Steven Dean Gordon and Franc Cano face charges of four counts of murder with special circumstance allegations of killing during a rape, kidnapping, lying in wait and multiple murders.

When the two were charged last year, questions were raised about oversight of the defendants, who were outfitted with GPS monitors.

Both were on federal probation and Cano was on state parole.

The two men had cut off their GPS devices when they went on a joint killing spree, authorities said.

Bates’ bill would apply to sex offenders convicted of rape, spousal rape and continuous sexual abuse of a child.

“Sex offenders who remove or disable their GPS tracking devices are probably up to no good and should not just be given a slap on the wrist for doing so,” Bates said. “That’s why the state should make it a felony offense for the worst sex offenders who do tamper with their devices. It would put them behind bars in state prison longer and would help prevent future crimes. This is a common sense bill that deserves the support of the Senate Public Safety Committee.”

Bates is a co-author of Wagner’s bill, and Wagner is backing Bates’ legislation.

Wagner and Orange County Board Chairman Todd Spitzer have planned a news conference to discuss Wagner’s bill tomorrow.

Both Wagner’s and Bates’ bills will be considered by legislative committees Tuesday.

City News Service

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