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Iowa Legislators Deal on Sex Offender Measure

April 20, 2009

desmoinesregister.com : Legislators reach deal on sex offender measure.

A new version of Senate File 340 given Wednesday to The Des Moines Register would create work restrictions and “exclusionary zones” for child sex offenders, prohibiting them from being in several places – schools, libraries, child care sites – where children are gathered.

Sex offenders also would be required to submit more information for placement on the state’s sex offender registry, such as the address of their employers. “It will get us closer, but we won’t be completely in compliance” with the Walsh Act, said Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield. (not one state has been able to comply)

The bill would also call for a higher, $250 fee that offenders must pay in order to bolster registry maintenance and help finance a court technology fund. (Forcing people to pay fees is punishment!)

Sen. Pat Ward, a West Des Moines Republican who is serving on a bipartisan subcommittee crafting the bill, said the measure amounted to a big improvement of existing law. It does more to restrict where sex offenders go, not necessarily where they sleep, she said.

The new measure would require any child sex offender who wants to visit a school, library or child care center to first obtain written permission from administrators. It would also prevent them from loitering or sitting in cars near those places. (So if you’re a sex offender and your child gets sick or there is a family emergency, you are legally prohibited from picking them up without written permission)

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