The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider a bid to get rid of Iowa’s law restricting where sex offenders may live. The law was passed in 2002 but a court challenge suspended its implementation until this year. The law bans sex offenders from living within two-thousand feet of a school or day care. Cities and counties have begun passing even more restrictive ordinances.
Critics of the law call it unconstitutional banishment. Backers say it’s another way to protect children from sexual predators. Senator Jerry Behn , a Republican from Boone, had a hand in writing the law, and he’s relieved by the court’s decision. Behn says he’s grateful the nation’s high court decided not to hear the case. Behn says those who challenged the law did so because they think it’s bad policy, and such policy debates belong in the legislature, not in the courts. Behn predicts lawmakers will revisit the issue in 2006.
Behn says the goal of the legislation was to restrict true predators and the law may be too broad. That means the 2006 Iowa legislature might alter the definition of which sex offenders are covered by the living restrictions. A spokesman for the Iowa Civil Liberties Union refused to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision.