What Is Megan's Law? Megan Thee Stallion's HISS References An Important Statute

TW: The following article includes mention of child abuse, murder, and sexual assault.

If you've heard Megan Thee Stallion's track "HISS," you'll probably also have heard about the furor around one line in particular that fans have claimed is a diss aimed at Nicki Minaj. In the song, the "Body" singer rapped, "These hoes don't be mad at Megan, these hoes mad at Megan's Law." But what exactly does that mean?


Well, the line was a reference to Megan's Law. The reason that's so significant? Megan's Law is a federal law that ensures details of registered sex offenders (such as their name and address) are readily available to the general public. And that appears to link to Minaj through her husband, Kenneth "Kenny" Petty, who is a level two registered sex offender in New York. Petty was convicted of sexual assault for an incident that occurred when he was 16, prior to his relationship with Minaj. He has also served time in jail for attempted rape in the first degree and first-degree manslaughter.

However, Megan's Law has made quite a few headlines over the years, long before Megan Thee Stallion's "HISS" reference. But it may be a little more controversial than you first realized.


Megan's Law came about following the horrific murder of Megan Kanka

Megan's Law has been around since 1994 and doesn't actually have anything to do with Megan Thee Stallion. The law was named after Megan Kanka, who was just seven years old when she was raped and murdered by Jesse Timmendequas — a pedophile who already had two sexual offense convictions against him. Before Megan's Law was put into place, the sex offenders register was not readily available to the public, and, tragically, Kanka's parents did not know the offender was living in their area until after he had taken the life of their daughter. Following the horrific crime, Kanka's parents successfully campaigned to make the register public so anyone across the U.S. could know if a sex offender was living in their area. President Bill Clinton signed Megan's Law into federal law in 1996.


And there's no doubting many people across the U.S. have seen the benefit of the movement, particularly when it comes to keeping their children safe from potential predators in their area. "We think [Megan's Law] has been successful in many ways. It helps law enforcement, and parents can use it to prevent their child from having a relationship with someone who could victimize them," Laura Ahern, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center, told Daily Journal in 2014.

But Megan's Law has divided opinion

While there's no doubt that Megan's Law has created a sense of safety and garnered plenty of praise, it has earned some criticisms over the years. Some have claimed that the law doesn't allow offenders who have paid their dues and who may have been rehabilitated to have a fair second chance in society. There's also the issue of the effectiveness of Megan's Law. A 2008 US Justice Department study claimed that the law didn't have much, if any, impact on stopping offenders from offending again. 


Equally, the law relies on sex offenders to provide the correct details, such as their name and address, when leaving prison and then keeping authorities up to date when they move. That issue reared its head with Nicki Minaj's husband Kenneth Petty. In 2020, Petty was arrested for not registering as a sex offender in California after moving there from New York. He was sentenced in 2022 to three years' probation and a year of home detention, as well as having to pay a fine of $55,000, as a result. Others have also criticized Megan's Law because of its inability to keep track of sex offenders who temporarily travel to other cities, or even other states, to commit crimes.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.


If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).