March 11, 2015

Senate OKs bill to bar Level 4 sex offenders from living near churches

3-11-15 Arkansas:

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday gave final passage to a bill to bar the highest-level sex offenders from living near churches.

Sex offenders

The Senate voted 27-7 to approve House Bill 1164 by Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren, which would prohibit a Level 4 sex offender — the classification reserved for the most serious offenders — from living within 2,000 feet of a church.

‘I present this bill to you to help us stop the worst of the worst sex offenders from, unfortunately, going after our children,” Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, said while presenting the bill in the Senate.

Several senators spoke for and against the bill. Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Benton, one of those who spoke against it, said the bill would not affect an offender who currently owns a home within 2,000 feet of a church, but an offender living in a family member’s home near a church would be required to move.

Hutchinson said the offender would not be able to rent a home — most live with family members because no one will rent to them, he said — and would end up “roaming the streets without any supervision and without parole knowing where they are.”

Collins-Smith disagreed.

“We will be able to track them and monitor them just like we do now,” she said.

The bill passed previously in the House and now goes to the governor. ..Source.. by John Lyon

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