Vote on sex offender restriction postponed

John Zick

Schuyler County lawmakers Monday tabled a proposed law that would restrict where registered sex offenders can live.

Legislators referred the resolution back to a standing committee by a 7-1 vote. The dissenting vote was cast by Glenn Larison, R-Odessa, the man who introduced the legislation.

“I know the people in the committee,” Larison said after the vote. “I feel it's going to be killed.”

Lawmakers tabled the resolution after a public hearing on the subject, although only one resident spoke on the issue.

Hector resident Bill Elkins said he appreciates the sentiment of the law - protect children - but said he's concerned the legislation would add punishment to those who have already paid their debts.

“I'm concerned we're attacking a minor part of this problem,” he said. “These people pay taxes like you and me.”

Elkins was pleased with Legislature voted to table the resolution.

“I say table it and study it some more,” he said.

The propsed law would prohibit registered Level II and Level III -- moderate and high risk -- offenders from living within 500 feet of a camp, daycare, park, playground or school.

“This covers an awful lot of land,” Elkins said.

Sex offenders who own property within 500 feet of those areas when the law is passed would be exempt. Also, sex offenders would be allowed to remain in a residence until his or her lease was up.

The committee will review the proposed law at a later meeting, and Larison hopes it will eventually pass.

“I've worked on this for a year,” he said.