Bill would keep sex offenders away from public playgrounds
Registered sex offenders would be required to stay 1,000 feet from a playground
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Protecting kids while they play is the idea behind a bill now making its way through the Kentucky legislature.
House Bill 38 would keep registered sex offenders at least 1,000 feet away from public playgrounds.
Lauren Phillips loves to bring her kids to the playground even on a chilly day in February, but she always keep a watchful eye.
“It gives my kids a chance to get some fresh air and burn off some energy," she said. “[But] you can never be too careful. Things can happen in a moment's notice."
Rep. Kim King says her bill will help give parents a little more peace of mind. It adds public playgrounds to the list of places where sex offenders must steer clear.
King says the idea came from a constituent.
“He was concerned, because he knew that registered sex offenders were sitting at the playground area, and he was concerned for his children and their playmates,” King said.
Sex offenders must already stay away from schools and daycare centers.
Parents and grandparents at Beckley Creek Park on Wednesday agree it's a good idea to also include playgrounds.
“Any measure that we can take to keep our kids safer and give moms and parents peace of mind, I think is an excellent idea,” Phillips said.
“The only issue I see with it is enforcement," Earl Thompson said. "Of course, I'm sure police officers would have a means to be able to take action when necessary if they found someone here. But I think it’s a good idea."
But what about parents listed on the sex offender registry who want to take their own children to a public playground?
“The only exception would be with written permission from the owner of the playground or the managing authority,” King said.
As in the current law, the penalty for a first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
Repeat offenses are considered Class D felonies, which could lead to five years in prison.
“It just adds another layer of protection for concerned parents at public playgrounds,” King said.
The bill passed the House last week by a vote of 91-3 and is now in the Senate.
You can read HB 38 here.
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