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BOE Member George Runner

Court Decision Allows Child Molesters to Live Next to Kindergarten Classrooms

Voters overwhelmingly approved Jessica’s Law on the November 2006 ballot. Today, the California Supreme Court substituted the opinion of the court over the will of the people.

The court’s decision strikes down mandatory residency restrictions on San Diego County sex offenders under Jessica’s Law and would allow a child molester to live across the street from a school or park where children gather. It puts San Diego families at risk and sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the state.

My wife, former Senator Sharon Runner, and I are the authors of Proposition 83, otherwise known as Jessica’s Law. In addition to mandatory residency restrictions for sex offenders, the law includes many important public safety reforms such as strengthened sexually violent predator laws and increased parole terms. The California Supreme Court’s decision only relates to the residency requirements in Jessica’s Law.

Knowing sex offenders might challenge Jessica’s Law, we introduced Senate Bill 54 in 2010 to give local governments increased flexibility regarding residency requirements. It was subsequently killed by the Legislature. In its decision, the California Supreme Court regretfully did not provide local governments the flexibility to craft a more appropriate alternative for their communities.

As the authors of Jessica’s Law, we continue to stand behind the package of reforms that have made California’s communities safer, and we are opposed to any efforts to undermine them.

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