Iowa was supposed to be on the forefront of the “revisit residency restrictions” movement. Iowa was supposed to be the vanguard of the sensible restrictions movement. Iowa was supposed to show the rest of the country that these draconian laws don’t work and here’s how to do it.
Unfortunately, not so fast. It seems that – as all hot button political issues go – this has become politicized and stuck in a quagmire (For those keeping track, that’s two sitcom references).
Iowa sheriffs and prosecutors on Monday blasted lawmakers for failing to roll back a controversial and politically charged law restricting where sex offenders can live.
“They’re just afraid to take action, and the people of Iowa should be ashamed,” said Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald. “It’s absolutely politics at its worst.”
Earlier this year, the bipartisan panel heard during a series of public meetings from a number of groups – sex offender experts, statewide law enforcement associations, prevention experts and victims – who uniformly criticized the state law banning sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or child care centers.
However, those on the other side of the aisle are firm in their belief that this is not what the residents of Iowa want.
But Senate Minority Leader Mary Lundby of Marion said Republicans would resist any attempt to repeal the 2,000-foot law, which went into effect in 2005. Lundby said her belief is that people do not support such a move.
“My message hasn’t changed since the beginning of the session,” she said. “We will support additional spending for monitoring (sex offenders) and additional assessment, but people across the aisle don’t want them in their neighborhoods, period.”
It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out – with the end of session on Friday.
*My sincerest apologies to those that had repressed any memory of that song and that show.