Saturday, October 12, 2013

NE - Alexandria leaders reject sex offender ordinance

Sex offender buffer zonesOriginal Article



Leaders in the south-central Nebraska village of Alexandria let die an ordinance that would have restricted where sex offenders can live.

A motion to send the ordinance to a full vote of the Alexandria Village Board failed to win a second on Wednesday, said board member Mark Anderson, declining to comment further.

The board gave initial approval to the ordinance Sept. 11, but it needed to survive two more readings.

As written, it would have forbidden registered sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, village-owned and maintained parks, licensed day-care centers and any school bus stops on village property. The ordinance also would have levied fines of $500 per day to landlords who rented to sex offenders.

As of Thursday, one registered sex offender was living in the town of 177, according to the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry. _____, 40, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault 14 years ago and served more than two years in prison.

Nebraska ACLU opposed the proposed ordinance (PDF), saying it went beyond what state law allows. The group’s legal director, Amy Miller, sent a letter to the village board in September calling on it to reject the proposal.

She said it restricted locations state law doesn’t allow, including village-owned playgrounds or parks and school bus stops on village property. And, Miller said, the ordinance lacked a proper grandfather clause (Wikipedia) and created a new crime — renting to sex offenders — that state law doesn't permit.

Nebraska ACLU Executive Director Becki Brenner said Thursday the ordinance would have done little to prevent sexual violence because research shows residency restrictions don’t lead to significant reductions in offenses.

By deciding not to move forward with an unconstitutional ordinance, the Village of Alexandria can now spend their resources on practices that will actually make the community safer,” she said in a news release.

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