State lawmakers took the first step today (Thursday) in replacing a provision in the state sex offender law that was ruled unconstitutional last month by a judge. The law had required convicted sex offenders to live at least two-thousand feet from a facility with children, but the judge said it was so restrictive, many offenders couldn’t find any place to live. Republican Senator Don Redfern of Cedar Falls chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and says there isn’t any law governing where sex offenders can live. He says though it’s on appeal and could be reversed and the old rule reinstated, he feels there should be something in place when this session ends. The committee’s approved a bill that would lower the distance requirement to one-thousand feet. Senator Redfern says the distance itself is still up for debate but he wanted to make sure something was approved before the first funnel deadline of the session. That we ensure when sex offenders are released they stay away from schools and daycare center, and lawmakers want to make sure they do it so it’s “good law.” Some lawmakers on the committee want to hold off on a new rule while the state appeals the ruling that struck down the old distance limit. But Senator Redfern says the new bill could include a clause that it only goes into effect if the state loses its appeal.
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