Virginia Senate passes tougher laws for sex offenders

      RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has passed two bills to make life tougher for sex offenders.

      One of the bills requires that juveniles convicted of serious sex crimes be added to a sex-offender registry that could be accessed only by law enforcement agencies.

      Sen. Bill Stanley said the bill is needed to comply with a federal sex registry law and avoid the loss of about half a million dollars in grant funds.

      Sen. Dave Marsden of Fairfax County said the bill goes too far by imposing a lifetime penalty on juvenile offenders.

      The bill passed 24-14 Friday.

      The Senate also voted 27-12 to pass a bill requiring a life sentence for serious sex crimes against children when the prosecutor alleges in the indictment that the defendant is 18 or older.