Governor Tom Vilsack doubts he and state legislators will make any changes in the state law which forbids sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care. Small town city councils throughout the state have begun passing local ordinances to banish sex offenders from their communities.
The Des Moines City Council is considering an ordinance which would ban sex offenders from living in the only two neighborhoods in Des Moines which are not within two-thousand feet of a school or day care.
Governor Vilsack doubts legislators will try to prevent communities from taking those steps. “I mean, let’s be honest here,” Vilsack says. “Politically, does anybody see this actually happening?” The Iowa Civil Liberties Union has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule the living restrictions for sex offenders released from prison are unconstitutional. Vilsack suggests the political reality is state lawmakers will sit back and wait for the courts to rule. “My point of all this is to face the political reality of it,” Vilsack says.
The governor says governors, legislators and city council members want to protect children. “Maybe we come up with imperfect ways, but the intent is to protect our children,” Vilsack says. Vilsack says during his walk last week through small town Iowa, he heard from mayors who were concerned sex offenders would begin moving out of cities and into small towns. “I think what you’re seeing is a reaction and a justifiable reaction on the part of Iowans to protecting their children,” Vilsack says.