AR lawmakers tighten restrictions on sex offenders

Update:{}Monday, February 4, the state House passed legislation to prohibit Level 3 and 4 sex offenders from swimming areas and playgrounds in state parks. It passed by a vote of 90-0.

The bill's sponsor, Missy Irvin explains that Level 3 and 4 sex offenders are considered high risk to reoffend and violent predators.

The House also voted to require sex offenders moving to Arkansas to pay a $250 fee.

Both bills have passed the Senate. They have to be signed by Gov. Mike Beebe to officially become law.



Friday, January 25, 2013:{}AR Senator files bill restricting where sex offenders can go

(KATV) Little Rock - A local lawmaker is working to restrict where sex offenders can go. State law currently restricts where they live and bans sex offender from entering a city swimming pool or play ground.

Thursday, Senator Missy Irvin gave an emotional account of what a family friend went through after being sexually abused. Senate Bill 12 hits close to home for her, but it wasn't her proposal. It was requested by the State Parks department to extend what is already law in municipalities to their parks.

Lynn Gilmore testified against the Bill. Lynn is a member of ATAT (Arkansas Time After Time) and currently serve as CEO of{}SOSEN. To read Lynn's blog,{}click here.

There are 52 family friendly state parks in the natural state where you can find just about any activity for your adventure level. Peter Brave goes to Pinnacle Mountain about 5 times a week for exercise. He says whether a child can accidentally walk off a cliff or fall into the wrong hands, a parent is the ultimate protector. "You have to be diligent as a parent or guardian. When you have the kids, I think it's your responsibility to keep an eye on them and make sure their out of harm's way."

He says a sex offender should not be able to interact with children, but is hesitant to see eye to eye with a bill prohibiting level 3 and 4 sex offenders from swimming pools and playgrounds in state parks for one issue he's uncertain about. "If it gives people the privilege to come up and ask for everyone's identity without any prompting, I have a problem with that."

Senator Missy Irvin says, "This will allow our State Park officials to tell them to leave."

Senator Irvin is the bill's sponsor. She says level 3 and 4 offenders have a higher tendency to repeat and they're regarded as more violent.

There is still a ways to go. The bill got unanimous approval from the Senate floor but it still needs to pass the House judiciary committee and the House. After that Governor Beebe will decide whether to sign it into law. Irvin adds, "This Bill and this effort kind of protect an impeccable reputation that Rangers have of providing a safe, fun and affordable place for families to come together and have a good vacation and experience."

Senator Irvin says it's also a way for park rangers to work close with law enforcement.

If it passes, it could go into effect immediately. Violating it would be a Class D felony.

Senator Irvin says a level four sex offender contacted her and said he disagreed with the bill.



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