Senate bill distances sex offenders from children

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Senate voted unanimously Saturday for a bill that will prevent certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other place where children gather.

SB471, which moves on to the Assembly for final action, also mandates that sex offenders who move to Nevada must provide a DNA sample to authorities. It creates a system for GPS monitoring sex offenders.

The bill’s distance requirements originally were in another bill pushed by Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas. Most states have established some type of distance requirements and, without them, Nevada is at risk of becoming a haven for sexual predators, Titus said.

The DNA provision was pushed by Gov. Jim Gibbons. Titus and Gibbons both introduced GPS monitoring plans.

The distance requirements only affect “tier-three” offenders, who have committed serious crimes against children. Such offenders who live within the 1,000-foot perimeter would have to move at their expense.

The restricted locations include parks, arcades, school bus stops, day care facilities, and amusement parks. The offenders also must avoid knowingly being within 500 feet of those locations.

Because of the expense of GPS monitoring, those provisions will be phased in as a pilot program. Offenders would have to pay for their own monitoring costs, if they can do so.

During debate on distance requirements, lawmakers deleted part of the bill that would have kept suspects from pleading “no contest.” Prosecutors said that mandate would prevent offenders from cutting deals sometimes necessary when victims are reluctant to testify.

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