The first "Megan's Law" was enacted in New Jersey in 1994 after the rape and murder of Megan Kanka by a previously convicted child sex offender living near her home. The enactment of Megan's Laws reflects the feeling that every parent should have the right to know if a previously convicted and potentially dangerous sexual predator moves into their neighborhood.
The laws generally require that previously convicted sex offenders of children must notify their local police department of their current address and any changes in their address after release from incarceration. Sex offenders may be required to provide this information to law enforcement for life or for a certain period of time depending upon their crime and the state in which they reside. In some states the law may only apply to child sex offenders while in others it may include those convicted of other forms of sexual offence.
In 1996 a federal version of Megen's Law was signed by the President as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children's Act. The amendment required all states to create procedures to track certain types of convicted sexual offenders and provide reasonable methods of notifying concerned citizens when such persons reside in their neighborhoods.