Saturday, May 25, 2013
Alaska’s Proposed Version of Jessica’s Law
Amendment to crime omnibus bill allows judges to ban convicted child molesters from living near schools and playgrounds.
Right now, Alaska does not have any laws on the books that keep convicted child molesters away from kids. But that could change now that state lawmakers are getting closer to passing a bill to protect children from convicted child molesters.
It's called Jessica's Law.
Named after a young Florida girl who was raped and killed by her neighbor, a convicted child molester, Jessica’s Law requires sex offenders live at least 800 feet from playgrounds, schools or anywhere else kids are known to gather in groups.
Other U.S. states with a version of Jessica's Law have pushed many convicted sex offenders into homelessness due to requirements that force offenders outside of certain regions. In some cases, convicted sex offenders are completely pushed off the grid. Living a life off the radar makes it more difficult for police and probation officers to keep track of offenders.
One Anchorage senator has been pushing to get a version of Jessica's Law implemented here in Alaska but ended up with a compromise.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) proposed the legislation as part of a human trafficking bill, Senate Bill 110, but that bill died this session.
Wielechowski and his staff removed the sex offender portion out of the bill and placed it as an amendment to Gov. Sean Parnell’s crime omnibus, known as House Bill 127, which passed through the Senate Judiciary Thursday morning.
The sex offender area restriction amendment to the crime omnibus bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee.