Senate approves Booher bill banning sex offender loitering near day care centers

LANSING?Sen. Darwin Booher’s legislation to stop child sex offenders from hanging around day care centers was unanimously approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“When Michigan parents drop off their children at a day care center, they expect that it is a place where their children can have fun and play — safe from sexual predators,” said Booher, R-Evart. “Michigan law helps prevent sex offenders from repeating their criminal sexual acts through safety restrictions, such as banning violators from loitering within a student safety zone.

“This legislation is about taking the current protections for our students at school and extending them to protect children at day care centers.”

Senate Bill 76 would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) to prohibit sex offenders from loitering within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care center. 

“We owe it to each Michigan child to take every precaution possible to protect him or her from sexual predators,” Booher said. “By approving this legislation, the Senate said loud and clear to sex offenders: stay away from our kids and stop hanging around day care centers.” 

SB 77 would establish sentencing guidelines. Under the bill, a first-time violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. Violators with one or more prior SORA convictions would be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years, a fine of up to $2,000 or both.

SB 76 would allow for exceptions only for parents who are transporting their own children to school or day care or are going to the school or day care center for the purpose of meeting with an employee regarding his or her child’s enrollment.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.