ATLANTA (AP) Georgia legislators are seeking to soften some of
the toughest provisions in the state's crackdown on sex offenders.
The Senate voted 52-2 on Tuesday to make sweeping changes to the
law. The new plan now goes to the House, where powerful Republican
legislators pushed the original law through three years ago.
The current law bans sex offenders from living, working or
loitering within 1,000 feet of just about anywhere children gather.
That includes schools, parks, gyms, swimming pools and the state's
150,000 school bus stops.
The law, which supporters say is among the nation's toughest,
was passed in 2006 at the urging of Republican leaders who vowed it
will help protect Georgia's children and prevent the state from
becoming a "safe haven'' for sex offenders.
One change would allow "low risk offenders,'' such as those
convicted of statutory rape, to petition the legal system to get
off the registry after completing their sentence.
The Senate proposal would also clear the way for most sex
offenders to volunteer in churches. Sex offenders who are elderly and disabled could ask the courts to be released from the residency requirements under the proposal.