Allentown
72° F
Mostly Cloudy
Mostly Cloudy

Pa. lawmaker wants state control of where sex offenders can live

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 18 2013 04:00:22 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 18 2013 04:18:09 PM CST

Many municipalities in Pennsylvania tried to pass their own ordinances to control where sex offenders can live, but it was knocked down by the courts.

Many municipalities in Pennsylvania tried to pass their own ordinances to control where sex offenders can live, but it was knocked down by the courts.   

Pa. Sen. Lisa Boscola said that's why she's taking the matter to the state level.

Pennsylvania State Police list more than 12,000 sex offenders who live in the commonwealth near playgrounds, schools and bus stops.

"There is no law in Pennsylvania that said we can restrict individuals that have been convicted of an offense toward a minor," explained Boscola, D-Lehigh, Monroe & Northampton counties.

So she took the matter into her own hands. Senate Bill 86 is her answer.  If passed, it would prohibit convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, preschool, playground or recreation center.

"And then I want to carry it one step further and say and bus stops, because these are where children congregate and this is where I've been hearing complaints," said Boscola.

The proposed legislation would set up a protective barrier of 500 feet around any bus stop, making Pennsylvania the first state to do that.

"Twenty-one other states have some form of residency requirement," said Boscola.

The bill is not retroactive and does allow exemptions if a school district can't relocate a bus stop.  In that instance, the district must notify police and parents that a predator is present. 

Boscola introduced a similar bill last session, and said she thinks it can pass this time around.

"I think we can save lives and save children from sexual offenses if something like this is passed," said Boscola.

New Jersey is another state that currently has no laws on sex offender residency limitations.