In a post last Thursday, Bluestem looked at a special moment when Tony Cornish wondered how a black sex offender ended up in Minnesota Lake. The deep thought came during a committee hearing for Becker Republican Jim Newberger's HF3260.
But Cornish's concern about sex offenders isolated in small towns may not be addressed by Newberger's bill.
The Brainerd Dispatch reports in Look out greater MN, bill mostly bans sex offenders from metro:
A bill that would further restrict where the state’s most serious sex offenders could live — and give cities and counties the ability to restrict them even more — is progressing in the Legislature.
Currently, “Level 3” sex offenders — the most likely to re-offend — cannot live “near” schools, according to state law. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, and put before the House’s public safety committee on Tuesday, would expand that restrictions to parks, as well as “other locations frequented by children.”
The bill would also allow local government agencies, like cities and counties, to enact even more restrictive ordinances on where Level 3 offenders can live.
The bill’s proponents argued that local communities know what’s best for them — but repeatedly stressed that the bill would not allow any municipality to bar sex offenders completely.
But in places like St. Paul — with a dense concentration of parks — that’s largely what the language would do.
In St. Paul, roughly 97 percent of all properties are within a half-mile of a park. In Minneapolis, the total is 95 percent, city officials said.
Of the 459 Level 3 sex offenders registered statewide, 122 live in Minneapolis and 43 in St. Paul.
There are other problems with the bill, the article points out, like courts in other states overturning similar laws. But surely it's the thought that counts when it comes to Representative Newberger.
Photo: Representative Jim Newberger
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