March 4, 2015

Town of Penfield pushes ahead with sex offenders restriction law despite court ruling

See also: Penfield Holds Public Hearing On New Sex Offender Bill
3-5-15 New York:

Despite a state Court of Appeals ruling, the Town of Penfield is full speed ahead with a local law to restrict where sex offenders can live. There's apparent unanimous support for it and there's also a plan to counteract that court ruling. But we had this question for the town supervisor: If the local law is illegal, as it would be right now, is it right to pursue it?

Greg Kamp runs the Penfield Little League program. He's confident the law will create a safer environment for kids. "I'm very confident that this law would make it safer for kids in Penfield," says Kamp.

Kamp supports the proposed Penfield law that would prohibit sex offenders from living up to 2,000 feet from parks, schools and public buildings. There was a public hearing on the law Wednesday; four people spoke in favor of it. This all became an issue when a convicted sex offender from Seattle moved into a Penfield neighborhood earlier this year. But a recent court ruling prohibited local governments from creating such laws. So is it right to pursue this law, if it would currently be illegal? The town supervisor says yes.

"We're not looking to upset our friends in Albany," says Supervisor Tony LaFountain. "Certainly we'll respect the fact that the Court of Appeals had their ruling."

Instead, the town is behind an effort to override the court's ruling through a new state law. That law passed through the Senate last week after a push from Senator Rich Funke. It now sits in the state Assembly. If passed, municipalities would be able to craft their own laws restricting sex offenders.

"Very enthusiastically supported and endorsed," says Supervisor LaFountain. "And we're hoping we get the same thing from the Assembly."

But if the law doesn't get passed? LaFountain says, "If we don't, the Town of Penfield didn't put me into office to break the law. So we will have to comply with the current law." ..Source.. by Chris Horvatits

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