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Bill aims to ban sex offenders from Missouri Conservation areas

Should registered sex offenders be banned from conservation areas? That’s the aim of a bill put forth by one Missouri legislator.

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, chairs the House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Conservation. According to Missourinet, her bill will be heard Monday at noon by the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee in Jefferson City.

House Bill 2142 is a one-page bill. It would ban registered sex offenders from nature or education centers controlled by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and sex offenders would have to stay at least 500 feet away from those areas.

Under the bill, the first violation would be a class E felony, and any subsequent violations would be a class D felony.

Kelly tells Missourinet her intent is to keep children and residents safe in and near Conservation nature and education centers. The Missouri Department of Conservation has several of these facilities. They include the Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City, Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, the Springfield Conservation Nature Center and the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center in southeast Missouri.

While schoolchildren frequently visit Conservation nature and education centers, it’s not known if the bill would be constitutional.

State law currently bans registered sex offenders from being within 500 feet of public parks with playground equipment, public swimming pools and children’s museums.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice