Sex Offender Switcheroo
Since when did sex offenders become so popular? Consider some developments over the past couple of weeks in state legislatures: * On a 32-8 vote, the ...
Since when did sex offenders become so popular? Consider some developments over the past couple of weeks in state legislatures:
* On a 32-8 vote, the Kansas Senate approved the extension of a law that prevents local governments from restricting where sex offenders live. The House seems likely to go further and make the law permanent.
* Utah lawmakers killed a proposal to prevent sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, parks, pools and playgrounds.
* A similar bill died in a Colorado House committee.
* Legislators in Iowa are considering repealing their state's 2,000-foot buffer zone around schools and daycare centers, which was put in place just two years ago. At least ten county boards have come out in favor of the repeal.
In truth, legislators dislike sex offenders as much as they ever have. They're showing it in a variety of other ways, from tougher sentencing laws to expanded post-release monitoring to Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's push to authorize the death penalty for child molesters. However, this year seems likely to represent a turning point against state-level residency restrictions.
There's little secret as to why, from a policy perspective, legislators would not want to regulate where sex offenders can live. As a panel in Kansas found, the restrictions don't reduce recidivism. Rather, they prompt offenders to move without reporting it, making it tougher for law enforcement to keep track of them.
But, from a political perspective, is it possible to vote in a way that an opponent could portray as favoring sex offenders and not have it come back to haunt you at the next election? These lawmakers seem intent on finding out, which makes them courageous, foolish, or both.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Where GOP Governors Stand on 'Repeal and Replace'2 days ago
Fatal Storms End Drought in Some Parts of California2 days ago
Christie's Lt. Gov. Joins Race to Replace Him in New Jersey2 days ago
Pence's Indiana Replacement Creates Drug Czar Position2 days ago
Recent Florida Shootings May Boost NRA-Backed Bills2 days ago
Amid $900 Million Shortfall, Nebraska Governor Proposes Tax Cuts2 days ago