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Bill presented in Pennsylvania House aims to keep sex offenders a certain distance away from schools – WPXI | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

IRWIN, Pa. — A bill in the Pennsylvania Capitol that would restrict how close a registered sex offender could live from a school or daycare had a hearing for the first time on Tuesday.

Under that new proposal, registered sex offenders would be restricted from living any closer than 2,500 feet from a local school or daycare. Currently, there are no restrictions on where a registered sex offender can live.

Robert Wayman of Irwin believes the fact that no restrictions exist is wrong.

“I think it’s unacceptable,” Wayman told Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek.

He’s not alone. Many people believe there should be a limit to how close a registered sex offender can live to a school or daycare.

“I just don’t trust [people],” said Jo Williams, a grandmother who lives in Irwin. “Like, they did it once or twice or however many times, they’re living within a certain distance from our kids.”

Channel 11 wanted to see how big of an issue this is in our area. So we mapped out all the schools in Allegheny County and then gathered all the information about offenders the state deems ‘sexually violent predators.’

There are 99 of them in Allegheny County, and several live within just a couple hundred feet of schools.

Because of this — two local lawmakers are working across the aisle for a change.

House Bill 77 would mean sex offenders could live no closer than 2,500 feet from a school or daycare. Lawmakers just held a committee hearing on the bill yesterday.

Capitolwire.com reports the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association said the bill is well-intentioned, but also worries that if it becomes law it could drive sexually violent predators underground without a main residence and an incentive to keep their registration up to date.

Williams and Wayman both said the bill is a good idea.

“I think it definitely, definitely should be that way,” Williams said. “Every grandparent and mother can take their kid to the park and know they’re safe if they pass that bill to more further.”

“I would think that would be appropriate,” Wayman said. “I think 1,000 feet would be a little too close. 2,500 feet might be the range.”

That proposal is still in a House committee, so we will continue to follow it as it works its way through the legislative process.

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