Hundreds of people went to Lake Poway Saturday night to support the proposed Chelsea's Law.
“You guys are the best and I wanted to thank you all for coming,” Chelsea King’s 13-year-old brother, Tyler King said.
Supporters hope legislators will approve tougher penalties for sexual predators. They’re gearing up for a long political process to get the bill past lawmakers and on the governor's desk for a signature.
Saturday’s event at Lake Poway fielded donations and letter writers to state lawmakers to support the bill, which calls for harsh penalties for violent sexual predators.
“Hopefully this will turn things around to stop them because our kids are easy prey, they're easy targets,” Chelsea's Law supporter Matt Yonker said.
The bill cleared a legislative hurdle earlier in the week, passing the State Assembly's Public Safety committee. But supporters are preparing for the long road to pass the assembly and the senate.
“Our lawmakers that are up there, that are voting on this, are the ones that we have to impress upon them how important this is and to make it work,” event organizer Susan Wintersteen said.
Critics say the bill could violate civil rights and that it is a repeat of existing laws. But state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher says it introduces a life without parole option for those sexual predators who target children, as well as other shortfalls.
“Existing law says you can't live within 2000 feet of a park. Our law says you can't go into a park if you’re a felony sex offender,” Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said.
But beyond Chelsea's law, the gathering on Saturday allowed people to show continued support for the Kings.
“Chelsea's an inspiration to all of us. Just kind of touched us,” middle school student Olivia Lake said.
The bill goes the appropriations committee next, where lawmakers figure out how the state will pay for the bill.