Senate panel OKs Booher sex offender loitering ban

LANSING?Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to stop child sex offenders from hanging around day care centers was approved on Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“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. “More than a decade ago, Michigan enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act to help prevent convicted sex offenders from repeating their criminal sexual acts.

“The law currently protects children at school by banning violators from loitering within a student safety zone, and my legislation would add those protections to child 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. 

“This is about ensuring that Michigan is taking every precaution to protect our children from sexual predators,” Booher said. “Extending SORA protections will say loud and clear to sex offenders: you have no business hanging around child 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 full Senate for consideration.