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.
Swing Justice Appears Split on Obamacare Case5 hours ago
Justice Kennedy Invites Another Lawsuit in Amazon State Tax Case2 hours ago
What America Will Look Like Decades From Now1 hour ago
Texas Not So Enthusiastic About Governor's Pre-K Initiative2 hours ago
Nearly a Dozen States Working to Protect the Electric Grid2 hours ago
The Big Money in States' Big Lawsuits2 hours ago