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Jessica's Law in New Jersey

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 1, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Factor Follow up Segment" tonight. Right now in the State of New Jersey if you rape a child under 13 the mandatory prison term is 10 years and you can be out in eight and a half for good behavior.

Many, including me, think that's far too lenient. We would like to see the Garden State pass Jessica's Law at least doubling that minimum. There is a proposed new law that would make that happen. But Jersey has been slow in passing it. And with us is State Senator Steve Sweeney who has been accused of delaying the new law. And I'm glad that you came in here. I want you to set the record straight if we've been unfair to you.

But the -- the fact of the matter is that 2005 Florida passed Jessica's Law because of Jessica Lunsford that poor 10-year-old little girl.


O'REILLY: It's now 12. That's seven years. 43 states have Jessica's Law but you guys don't.

SWEENEY: I wasn't the leader when the bill was announced or introduced back in '05. But I was in front of the curve in '04 because I actually proposed a bill to put GPS tracking systems on sexual predators to prevent what happened to that poor young lady down in Florida.

I believe in this. I'm the sponsor of the bill. And as the Senate President I'm going to get it passed.

O'REILLY: All right. And we -- and we're happy that you're going to get it passed but you can -- I used to live in New Jersey and I love this state. But I don't know why it takes seven years to protect the kids.

In the meantime, this is just a partial rap sheet of poor children who have been raped and guys are getting out. They got, you know, five years, eight years. And the case in New York that you know we're talking about two years.


O'REILLY: I mean I don't know why it took seven years for you guys to get to this point, why?

SWEENEY: It shouldn't take seven years.

O'REILLY: But why did it?

SWEENEY: It took me three years to get the GPS bill to be firm.

O'REILLY: Why? Who is holding it up?

SWEENEY: Listen, there is a whole bunch of factors that goes into legislation. Not that I -- I'm a union iron worker. That's what I do for a living and I'm not a lawyer. Sometimes you get frustrated by the process that takes place in doing legislation. It shouldn't take seven years. I wasn't the Senate President back in 2005 when it was introduced.

This is a no brainer. We're moving the bill forward. There's more progress under my leadership than any other.

O'REILLY: All right. Did you study who derail the bill and why it wasn't signed by Corzine or Christie so far? Do you see why it wasn't? I think the people want to know what holds it up?

SWEENEY: Listen, it's moving forward. I have spoken to the Governor.

O'REILLY: All right. So you don't know?

SWEENEY: I'm not -- listen, I'm not going to throw people -- throw names out and say it's this person's fault or that person's fault. The most important thing is that we get it done, Bill.


O'REILLY: All right, when are you going to get it done?

SWEENEY: We're going to -- hopefully we'll have a committee hearing in September.


SWEENEY: And in fact, I would love for you to come and testify at this hearing.

O'REILLY: You don't need me.

SWEENEY: Well no, no it's helpful --

O'REILLY: I mean, everybody knows it's the right thing to do.

SWEENEY: No, no, no, it's helpful to raise the profile of the issue because once it passes my House I've got to get it passed in the assembly and I want to get it to the Governor.

O'REILLY: The Assembly already says they're going to do it and Governor already says he's going to sign it.

SWEENEY: When did the assembly say that?

O'REILLY: Last week.

SWEENEY: Ok great then. Well, guess what --

O'REILLY: So there -- if there is any delay you call me and I'll come down. But I don't think you're going to have. I think it will sail right through.

SWEENEY: I want you to come down. It's a good issue and it should be worked on.

O'REILLY: All right. Basically what we have in our society now is a 90 percent of the people agree with you and me.


O'REILLY: We need it, right?

SWEENEY: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: 90 percent of Americans would you say that's an accurate thing.

SWEENEY: I'd say 95 at least.

O'REILLY: All right, so 95 but still, there is some kind of power here in New York. In New York they don't have it. You know this Goodman guy I mean he -- he would have been out in September if the Feds didn't come in. I mean -- and so we called the Governor of the state Andrew Cuomo just as we called Christie.

Now, here is an interesting situation. They're -- Cuomo basically ignores us because he is above talking to a punk like me. All right, he's not going to talk to me. Christie did talk to me. He called me crazy. He didn't talk to me directly.


O'REILLY: He just -- but he calls everybody crazy, right? So that's a compliment.

SWEENEY: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Ok there was -- he did it in an affectionate way. Bill O'Reilly is crazy. So at least -- at least he is paying attention.

But I don't understand why these politicians don't get in front of this and be heroes to the kids. I don't get it.

SWEENEY: It's about doing the right thing. Listen, I spoke to the Governor. He is very much on board with working with me to get this done.

Bill, the good thing is we're going to get it signed into law. New Jersey will be unfortunately what 42nd, 43rd by the time it's done.

O'REILLY: Yes, 44th, you will be the 44th state.

SWEENEY: And it's unfortunate it's taken so long because, you know something? Nationally this should happen. It was a no-brainer to do it nationally.

O'REILLY: Right. Well, you know, you could -- you can't federalize child rape because it's a state issue. It's interesting because Jersey is a state that has gone liberal. You're a Democrat.

SWEENEY: Yes, sir.

O'REILLY: And has gone liberal more liberal in the last 15 years. Why is that?

SWEENEY: Well, listen, I'm a centralist Democrat. In fact some say I'm a conservative Democrat.

O'REILLY: Well, you are a working guy.

SWEENEY: Yes, I'm a working class guy.

O'REILLY: Right, ok.

SWEENEY: I don't think -- I don't think -- I think New Jersey is a very moderate state. It's not, like extreme.

O'REILLY: It's going to go for Obama, though.

SWEENEY: Of course.

O'REILLY: He is way ahead.

SWEENEY: Yes he is, he is way ahead in the state. But that doesn't mean it's -- it's all the way to the left. I think most of the people in New Jersey are in the middle to be perfectly honest with you.

O'REILLY: But what is it about New Jersey that's changed in 15 years?

SWEENEY: Well, the diversity. I mean New Jersey --

O'REILLY: There are more minority people have come in?

SWEENEY: New Jersey is one of the most diverse state if not the most diverse state in the country. You know we have -- we're a melting pot. And you know and that doesn't make a bad thing it's a good thing.

O'REILLY: Ok but the encouraging thing is that even though the profile has changed politically, you believe that Jerseyites wants Jessica's Law and they are behind you. You're not going to hear anybody yelling at you saying don't do it, have you?

SWEENEY: No, absolutely not. Because it's the right thing to do.

O'REILLY: All right.

SWEENEY: Yes, it's absolutely the right thing to do.

O'REILLY: Senator you're a stand up guy for coming in. We appreciate it. We are glad we get it done and when you get it done we'll send a camera down there and we'll make a big deal out of it.

SWEENEY: Ok. Hope to have you.


SWEENEY: Thank you.

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