Lawmakers review bills restricting sex offenders - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Lawmakers review bills restricting sex offenders

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Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2004 9:51 am | Updated: 5:39 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Five bills aimed at toughening requirements for sex offenders will be reviewed today by a state legislative panel.

And all have potential problems, a key lawmaker on the issue said Wednesday.

"Every one of these bills — there’s always a constitutional issue or something you’ve got to address," said Rep. Steve Tully, R-Phoenix, who is chairman of the House Judicial Committee where the bills will be heard.

The biggest "work in progress" is a bill that would declare any rental house or apartment complex where more than three registered sex offenders live as a "slum" property, Tully said.

The proposed law, intended to break up "clusters" of sex offenders, includes fines for violators and the possibility that the property could be taken away from its owner by a judge.

Until this week, the bill contained a wholly different plan. It would have forced property owners renting to more than three sex offenders to post $100,000 bail to be paid if the criminal committed another sex crime.

That idea drew protests from rental property owners, who forced the change. The new bill would make landlords more diligent about their prospective renters, said Suzanne Gilstrap, spokeswoman for the Arizona Multihousing Association.

Yet Tully said the new language could still be seen as being illegal. The same argument could be made against another bill that would force offenders to pay a $100 yearly registration fee.

"We’ve got to amend that," he said. "You’ve got to have an out for people who have no money."

The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. in House hearing room 3 at the State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. The public is invited to testify.

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