Lawmakers working to change sex offender laws

LANSING, MI (WLNS) –  The Michigan Senate approved a bill Wednesday to change our current sexual offender laws.

Grand Ledge Senator Rick Jones sponsored the bill, after a federal judge ruled that parts of Michigan’s sex offender registration law are too vague and unconstitutional.

Senator Rick Jones says the sex offenders registration act, is a bill to fix our current sex offender registration law.

This new bill is set to change two major things. First, to clarify restrictions involving loitering within 1,000 feet from schools. Second, the bill allows sex offenders who are parents to drop and pick up their kids from school.

The sex offender’s registration act is set to make some big changes in Michigan.

“A federal judge ruled that Michigan’s law wasn’t clear enough, it didn’t say 1,000 feet from the front door or 1,000 feet from the school playground, so I needed to clarify it,” said Senator Rick Jones (R), Grand Ledge.

According to Senator Jones, the new bill keeps the 1,000 feet limit, but ensures there is no gray area by clarifying the definitions of school property and loitering.

But the federal judge asked Michigan to look into another big change, that is to make a special exception for sexual offenders who are parents.

“So if you are a parent and you are a sex offender, and if the judge didn’t order you to stay away from all children, perhaps in the case of a pedophile, you would be allowed to go to the school only if you have a child that is in that school, and perhaps you had a parent teacher conference, something like that a function that you were allowed to be at.” Senator Rick Jones said.

Senate Bill 583 allows some sex offenders who are parents to pick up and drop their children off from school, and attend school meetings. But Senator Jones clarifies that outside of these meetings and times offenders are still required to follow the rest of the restrictions including staying 1,000 feet away from school property.

“This bill will make sure that for that Michigan law is clear enough for the federal judge that made this ruling” Jones said.

The senate passed the bill Wednesday with a 37 to 1 vote, and now it is in the Senate for approval.

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