WI Bill to Override Local Sex Offender Restrictions
A new bill in the Legislature would create statewide limits on where sex offenders can live, and override more restrictive local laws like those in Green Bay. The city adopted strict residency rules in 2007. And that drove sex offenders out to the suburbs, where a few passed their own laws and most called for uniform state limits. De Pere will consider residency restrictions Tuesday.
Assembly Republican Phil Montgomery of Ashwaubenon says there should be uniformity statewide – and it must spell out places where sex offenders can live. The vast majority of Green Bay is off limits to those offenders – and Common Council president Chris Wery defended its law, saying the city still has than its share of offenders. A statewide policy was proposed a few years ago, but it never got anywhere.
State corrections’ officials generally oppose residency restrictions, saying they drive sex offenders underground just so they can find a place to live. The department’s Tom Smith say they’ve found offenders at homes in Green Bay while using De Pere addresses. And if they’re not using fake addresses, Smith says many don’t register with the state at all – which sex offenders are required to do by law.