Senate panel OKs Jones bill to keep sex offenders away from schools

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to restore a law prohibiting sex offenders from working or living within 1,000 feet of a school.

“A federal judge recently ruled that parts of Michigan’s sex offender registration law were too vague. As a result, sex offenders of all kinds can once again hang around our schoolyards,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Whether the convicted sex offender is a flasher or a pedophile, they have no business hanging out at the local school playground and leering at children.

“It is important to clarify the law so that we are protecting our children and still meeting the federal guidelines.”

Senate Bill 581 would prohibit a registered sex offender in Michigan from working or living within a student safety zone, which is defined as the school property and the area that lies 1,000 feet or less from the school property line. It also clarifies the law concerning how close an offender can be to a school while walking or driving.

The bill includes exemptions for an offender transporting his child to or from school, attending an event sanctioned by his child’s school and meeting with a school employee regarding his child enrolled at that school.

SB 581 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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