February 11, 2011
A new bill proposes banning child sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or daycare.
"I think they tend to gravitate towards where children are, playgrounds, schools, that type of thing," said Marlene Anderson, a grandmother of nine who lives just down the street from a school.
Anderson says she's in favor of a proposal to keep child sex offenders out of her neighborhood, especially since her granddaughter attends the nearby school and sometimes walks to her house.
"I just think it would be in everybody's best interest if we had a law like that," said Anderson.
The proposed law would also require offenders to keep their outdoor lights off on Halloween night, and would require a label on their driver's license showing they're an offender. It would also shorten the amount of time offenders have to register.
"This is just a bill that will protect kids. Will it protect every one of them? No. Will the abuse go on? Yeah. But what we're trying to do is stop the multiple abuse," said Republican KS Sen. Robert Olson of Olathe.
Olson also says the bill could stop the current trend of offenders moving to Kansas from out-of-state, as other states have harsher restrictions in place.
Opponents say the bill won't be effective, as many repeat offenders target children they know. They also say it further punishes people who have already served their time.
"Of course you want to keep the offenders away from them [children], but at the same time you're also kind of restricting their freedoms," said Ben Engels, who lives near a school but says he believes the law should have provisions for people who haven't committed a crime in recent years.
A Senate committee is still hearing testimony on the bill, which is also being introduced in the House. Supporters say they hope to get it passed into law this year.