Thursday, April 03, 2008
Dave Aronberg's First Step
I have to give Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) kudos...no matter how he spins the public safety angle, at least the guy is trying.
The Florida state senator is pushing for changes in the Sunshine State's Draconian sex offender laws.
SB 1430 designates "no lingering zones"--areas such as parks, schools and libraries where those convicted of certain sex offenses would not be permitted to loiter.
Knowing that Florida has most likely defined loiter to mean anything else but what we think, the Aronberg bill seemingly implies purposeful activity would be permitted, i.e the launching of a boat off a public ramp, the checking out of a best seller.
If indeed true, that's pretty huge for Florida.
Aronberg's bill also pushes "for a statewide 1,500-foot buffer between where sex offenders live and places children gather. In doing so, his bill would repeal get-tough sex offender housing ordinances passed by more than 120 Florida communities in the past few years, including Miami Beach and New Port Richey."
That's an increase of 500 feet.
The Iowa County Attorneys Association--a group of public prosecutors that has been vocal about sex offender laws since 2002, when Iowa became the first state in the nation to enact 2,000-foot buffers between sex offenders and schools--has this to say about that.
"We have said all along that the residency restrictions and the safety zones are aimed mostly at the stranger-danger kinds of things and that while those are horrendous whenever they occur, they are a tiny percentage. We are spending all our time focusing on those while there are thousands of children being sexually abused in their own homes and at acquaintances' homes. We would like to see more effort in preventing those kinds of abuse."
So...how is the continued need for residency restrictions justified?
Repeal of such laws would force the Florida Legislature to admit...they were wrong all along.