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County sponsors bill to further protect children from sex offenders

sb_cologo-full_colorSan Bernardino County sponsored Senate Bill 267 which was introduced today by Senator Connie M. Leyva to strengthen the ability of cities and counties to build upon existing protections from sex offenders.

The bill was introduced in response to a recent court ruling that limits the ability of local jurisdictions on California from further statutorily protecting children from dangerous sex offenders.

SB 267 would help to limit registered sex offenders’ potential contact with children by equipping local jurisdictions with the legal tools necessary to restrict offenders from living or being present at certain locations within the local agency’s jurisdiction. The bill seeks to supplement existing law by granting local municipalities the authority to impose additional restrictions on the known locations where registered sex offenders may live and frequent.

As the bill’s sponsor, the County of San Bernardino highlights the urgent need for this legislation.

“The Board knows how to protect the most vulnerable people in our county.  We want to return control back to local jurisdictions,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos.  “I thank Senator Leyva for introducing this legislation to allow our local governments to make decisions affecting our residents.”

Last year, the 4th Appellate District Court of Appeals, Division 3 ruled that local jurisdictions are preempted by state law from enacting tougher restrictions on the presence of sex offenders, which limits the ability of local leaders from keeping children and residents safe depending on the unique safety needs of local communities.

“With over 3,400 registered sex offenders in San Bernardino County and over 80,000 offenders living in communities throughout California, SB 267 is a common sense measure that arms local leaders with the necessary tools to help further protect vulnerable children and residents from these predators,” Senator Leyva said.  “As a mother and a lifelong advocate for safer communities, I am proud to introduce this legislation that seeks to keep children away from harm and minimizes the possibility for contact between perpetrators and potential victims.  SB 267 is critically important legislation since it protects our children while also empowering local leaders and authorities on these important public safety issues.”

SB 267 has not yet been assigned to a Senate policy committee for consideration.

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