Booher sponsors bill to stop sex offenders from loitering near child day care centers

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LANSING?Sen. Darwin Booher on Thursday introduced legislation in the Michigan Senate to stop child sex offenders from hanging around day care centers.

“We must ensure we are doing everything possible to protect our children from sexual predators,” said Booher, R-Evart. “In 2002, Michigan enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act to help prevent convicted sex offenders from repeating their criminal sexual acts. I introduced these measures to add its protections to child day care centers.”

Senate Bill 76 would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) to prohibit sex offenders who committed an offense against a minor from loitering within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care center.

“Parents rightfully expect that a day care center is a safe place for their child to have fun and play,” Booher said. “The current law already bans loitering within a student safety zone, and extending that protection to child day care centers is the right thing to do to keep all our kids safe.

“Simply put, sex offenders have no business hanging around day care centers.”

SB 77 is a companion measure establishing sentencing guidelines. Under the bill, a first-time violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. Violators with one or more prior SORA convictions would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years, a fine of up to $2,000 or both.

SB 76 would allow for exceptions only for parents who are transporting their own children to school or going to the school for the purpose of meeting with an employee regarding his or her child’s performance or attendance.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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