Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kravitz to Push New Limit on Sex Offenders

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kravitz to Push New Limit on Sex Offenders

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Saunders, Times-Union staff writer

Spurred by two Northeast Florida cases, Rep. Dick Kravitz pushed through a high-profile bill last year that prevents teen sex offenders from attending the same schools as their victims.

Now, he's ready for an encore.

Kravitz, a Jacksonville Republican, has proposed a bill that would block convicted sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of school bus stops. The bill, which has cleared one House committee and is slated to be heard in House and Senate committees next week, would expand a law that already prevents sex offenders from living near schools, day care centers and playgrounds.

Kravitz said sex offenders need to be kept away from bus stops, where children sometimes wait alone in the early morning hours.

"This is sort of a pre-emptive strike at what I think is a potential accident waiting to happen," said Kravitz, whose district includes parts of Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties.

Sen. Rod Smith, a Gainesville Democrat whose district also includes part of Clay County, is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. It would affect sexual offenders who have committed crimes against children under the age of 18 and who are being supervised by the state Department of Corrections.

But corrections officials have raised questions about possible difficulties in enforcing the bill. Those concerns stem, at least in part, from the huge number of bus stops in the state and potential problems in finding places for sex offenders to live.

"The Parole Commission and the courts are sometimes reluctant to move offenders from existing residences that were 'legitimate' at the time of initial residence, especially if the offender is complying with the conditions of supervision," a staff analysis of the bill said.

But Kravitz rejected such concerns, saying the Department of Corrections already has to enforce the ban on sex offenders living near schools, day care centers and playgrounds. …

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