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New Law Protects Children

May 28th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Police in Florida now have one more toll to protect our kids from sex offenders. Current law limits where they can live, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, starting today, a new law will also tell sex offenders where they cant go when they are awake.

Hundreds of students walk the sidewalk outside this high school every morning and afternoon. State law prohibits sex offenders from living too close to the school. But nothing says they cant share this sidewalk with the students, until now.

Legislation signed by Governor Charlie Crist, creates a moveable, 300 foot safety zone around kids. High school Principal Rocky Hanna says the new law fills a void.

We check every visitor against a sexual predator list,” Hanna said. “We have a software that does that, on campus. But people that are loitering off campus, we really dont have any enforcement area outside of the property we own.

Representative Rich Glorioso of Plant City sponsored the bill because he says its more important to regulate where sex offenders go when theyre awake, than where they sleep at night.

No one really believes this 300 foot barrier is going to be a magic bullet that will scare predators away from kids in a park. But what sponsors say is that it is just one more tool for police to use when they spot someone suspicious.

Violating the 300 foot ban is a misdemeanor.

Now that we have this law into effect, we can ask them what they are doing, check their identification if they come up on a list, they can arrest them,” Hanna said.

The legislation also makes it a crime for sex offenders to hand out candy at Halloween, or dress up as Santa or the Easter Bunny.

One provision in the new law does weigh in on the side of offenders. It says they do not have to move if they were already living somewhere and a day care or school opens up within 1000 feet of where they live.

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