BILL PASSED TO CREATE ‘PEDOPHILE-FREE ZONES’

120px-Seal_of_New_Jersey_svgLegislation sponsored to permit municipalities to restrict the ability of known sex offenders to live near places where children congregate was passed today by the full Senate.

The bill (S-837) responds to a 2009 state Supreme Court decision which invalidated 118 local ordinances that sought to create such “pedophile-free zones” within communities. The Court cited the fact that Megan’s Law, which it held was the primary source of state law dealing with sexual offenders, is silent on the subject of restricting where registered sex offenders may live, and thereby preempted the ability of towns to enact local ordinance.

The bill also would prohibit locating school bus stops and child care centers near the residence of high risk sex offenders.

The legislation now heads to the Assembly for further consideration.