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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Lingle says new laws protect community

By B.J. Reyes
Associated Press

Surrounded by members of the state's law enforcement and public safety offices and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday signed into law nine bills aimed at getting tough on crime in Hawai'i.

"For me, this is one of the most important signing days of all," Lingle said. "It gets to the very heart of what we're supposed to do, and that is bring about laws that help protect the community. ..."

The bills signed by Lingle:

• Prevent minors from working in the adult entertainment industry and provide criminal penalties for those who knowingly exploit children in this fashion.

• Make permanent raising the age of consent law to 16 years of age and strengthen sex offender registration requirements for convicted sex offenders.

• Allow victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to take unpaid employment leave to seek medical attention for physical or psychological injury, to obtain counseling, to move or to take appropriate legal action.

• Exempt victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault from having to pay court costs connected with seeking protective or restraining orders.

• Establish a special legal team within the state attorney general's office to target landlords and property owners who allow tenants to manufacture and deal drugs. The law targets production of crystal methamphetamine, or "ice houses."

• Help detect and prosecute people engaged in illegal auto sales activity and auto fraud by requiring anyone who sells three or more cars in a year to register as a dealer.

• Aid prosecutors by placing the burden on the defense to prove that a defendant suffers from extreme mental or emotional disturbance in homicide cases.

• Raise the penalty for stalking to a misdemeanor and simplify the elements that constitute the crime of stalking.

• Make intentional assault of a law enforcement officer a felony.