Tester Secures $325,000 for Montana to Increase Compliance and Use of Sex Offender Registration

Adam Walsh Act grants for Montana Department of Justice will reinforce the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $325,000 in Department of Justice (DOJ) Adam Walsh Act grant funding for the Montana Department of Justice to reinforce the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

“Keeping Montanans safe from dangerous individuals is critically important,” said Tester. “Every Montanan has the right to safety and security, and we need to improve how we communicate across communities to crack down on violent crime. I’m proud to secure this funding for our law enforcement to investigate and prosecute offenders and keep Montana communities safe from criminals.”

The Montana Department of Justice will use these grant funds to support personnel and travel to increase investigative and prosecutorial efforts for noncompliant registrants; develop and execute a memorandum of understanding with Tribal Nations currently operating as SORNA jurisdictions in Montana; provide information, guidance and assistance to legislators regarding necessary statutory updates; and enhance existing community education programs regarding SORNA.

SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. The legislation closed gaps and loopholes that existed under prior law and strengthened the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs. Tester voted to reauthorize SORNA through the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Reauthorization Act in 2016.

Tester has also been a longtime advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. He has repeatedly called on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which provides resources to protect victims and help survivors of violence, including in Indian Country and rural communities, and recently secured nearly $5 million in Department of Health and Human Services grants for domestic violence and child abuse victim support in Indian Country.

He also recently reintroduced his bipartisan, bicameral Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act of 2021, which would modify the burden of proof for survivors applying for Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits, given that many assaults during military service go unreported, so that military sexual trauma survivors can have equal access to the benefits and care they have earned.