State Sen. George D. Maziarz has fast-tracked a bill in the Senate that would greatly limit the locations where sex offenders can live, particularly in cities like Niagara Falls. The bill is authored in the Assembly by an occasional political nemesis of the senator, Robin Schimminger (D-Kenmore).
Maziarz, who last-month got a bill passed in the legislature's upper chamber that would allow Niagara County to adopt a stern local law limiting residency options for registered sex offenders to outside a 1,500-foot circle around schools, parks, athletic fields, and buildings and land connected to daycare centers, was working late yesterday to pass another bill to restrict sex offenders.
At press time, Maziarz was confident of more than enough votes for passage, and was waiting for the bill to advance to the floor from the Senate's Rules Committee.
The bill, introduced by Schimminger, hasn't passed the Assembly yet. After Assembly leaders sent Maziarz's bill to committee, Maziarz decided to advance Democrat Schimminger's bill through the upper chamber to advance the bill that would emplace a 1,350-foot no-go zone for sex offenders.
Passage of the sex offender bill became necessary when a local law similar to Niagara County's restrictions on sex offenders, originally written into local law in 2009, was struck down in the Finger Lakes city of Geneva, and county officials became convinced Niagara County's law wouldn't survive legal scrutiny.
"The Niagara County Legislature, along with myself, have a great concern for the safety of our children from sex offenders" Maziarz told us by phone from Albany late Monday. "It is important that we do what we can to protect them, and I am glad to do my part in the Senate to provide passage of legislation that will allow Niagara County to enforce their local law."
In order to become law the Assembly would have to vote for its passage and be signed by the governor.