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NH: Bill Prevents Local Residency Restrictions

February 19, 2010

fosters.com: N.H. House passes bill preventing communities from limiting sex offenders.

Concord, NH — A bill that would prevent communities from establishing residency restrictions for sex offenders has passed the state House of Representative and is on its way to the Senate.

House Bill 1484, which would prohibit any political subdivision of the state from adopting an ordinance or bylaw that restricts the residence of a sex offender or an offender against children, passed the House without any discussion, according to state Rep. Beth Rodd, D-Bradford.

Rodd proposed the bill in response to a district court ruling regarding Dover’s former ordinance, City Code 131-20, which prohibited registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school or day care center. Judge Mark Weaver ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in August after a 2008 challenge by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Rodd said she is confident the bill will make its way through the state Senate and eventually end up in the governor’s office to be signed into law because there has been much testimony about how such residency restrictions discourage sex offenders from registering.

“It’s dangerous to restrict residency for sex offenders because it diminishes law enforcement’s ability to track these offenders,” she said.

Bill Text: “651-B:13 Residency Restrictions Prohibited. No political subdivision of the state shall adopt an ordinance or bylaw that restricts in any way the residence of a sexual offender or an offender against children. Any such ordinance or bylaw adopted by a political subdivision of the state prior to the effective date of this section shall be null and void on the effective date of this section. “

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