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Governor Haslam signs Bill restricting Sex Offenders from Public Libraries

 

The Seal of the State of TennesseeNashville, TN – On Wednesday, June 22nd, Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 710, which increases restrictions against registered sex offenders entering public libraries.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Tim Barnes and State Representative John Tidwell who were present for the signing.

Governor Bill Haslam (center) stands with State Senator Tim Barnes (third from left) and State Representative John Tidwell (left) on Wednesday, June 22nd after signing their Senate Bill 710, which increases restrictions against registered sex offenders entering public libraries. From L to R: Tidwell, Houston County mayor G.E. Clark, Barnes, Haslam, Houston County Library Director Kay French, and library board members Randall French, Susan Bell, Ann Young and Kent Bell.

Governor Bill Haslam (center) stands with State Senator Tim Barnes (third from left) and State Representative John Tidwell (left) on Wednesday, June 22nd after signing their Senate Bill 710, which increases restrictions against registered sex offenders entering public libraries. From L to R: Tidwell, Houston County mayor G.E. Clark, Barnes, Haslam, Houston County Library Director Kay French, and library board members Randall French, Susan Bell, Ann Young and Kent Bell.

 

Bill Summary

This bill makes it a Class E felony offense for a registered sexual offender to do any of the following:

  1. If the offender’s victim was a minor, establish a primary or secondary residence or any other living accommodation, knowingly obtain sexual offender treatment or attend a sexual offender treatment program or knowingly accept employment within 1,000 feet of the property line of any public library;
  2. Be upon or remain on the premises of any building or grounds of any public library when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 years of age are present, unless the offender is attending a conference with public library officials as a parent or legal guardian of a child who is a participant at the public library and has received written permission or a request from the facility’s administrator; or
  3. Stand, sit idly, whether or not the offender is in a vehicle, or remain within 1,000 feet of the property line of any building owned or operated by any public library when children under 18 years of age are present, while not having a reason or relationship involving custody of or responsibility for a child or any other specific or legitimate reason for being there.

Under present law, it is a Class E felony offense for any sexual offender whose victim was a minor to establish a primary or secondary residence or any other living accommodation, knowingly obtain sexual offender treatment or attend a sexual offender treatment program or knowingly accept employment within 1,000 feet of the property line of any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public. It is also a Class E felony offense under present law for a registered sexual offender to:

(1) Be upon or remain on the premises of any building or grounds of any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public in Tennessee when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 years of age are present; or
(3) Stand, sit idly, whether or not the offender is in a vehicle, or remain within 1,000 feet of the property line of any building owned or operated by any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public in this state when children under 18 years of age are present, while not having a reason or relationship involving custody of or responsibility for a child or any other specific or legitimate reason for being there.

It is not an offense under (1) or (2) if the offender:

  1. Is a student in attendance at the school;
  2. Is attending a conference with school, day care, child care, park, playground or recreation center officials as a parent or legal guardian of a child who is enrolled in the school, day care center, other child care center or of a child who is a participant at the park, playground or recreation center and has received written permission or a request from the school’s principal or the facility’s administrator;
  3. Resides at a state licensed or certified facility for incarceration, health or convalescent care; or
  4. Is dropping off or picking up a child or children and the person is the child or children’s parent or legal guardian who has provided written notice of the parent’s offender status to the school’s principal or a school administrator upon enrollment.

ON MAY 2nd, 2011, THE SENATE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND PASSED SENATE BILL 710, AS AMENDED.

AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill and authorizes public library directors to reasonably restrict the access of any person listed on the sexual offender registry. In determining the reasonableness of the restrictions, the director must consider the following criteria:

  1. The likelihood of children being present in the library at the times and places to be restricted;
  2. The age of the victim of the offender; and
  3. The chilling effect of the use of the library by other patrons if the offender is not restricted.

This amendment specifies that it does not prevent a total ban of the offender’s access to a public library so long as the above criteria are considered.

The restrictions would be effective upon the mailing of notice to the address of the offender as listed on the sex offender registry. The notice must state with specificity, the time and space restrictions. The director must state in the notice that the above criteria have been considered.

A registered sex offender who enters upon the premises of a public library in contravention of the restrictions five days after mailing of the notice may, at the discretion of the director be prosecuted for criminal trespass.

 

Governor Bill Haslam (center) signs Senate Bill 710 as bill sponsors State Senator Tim Barnes (right) and State Representative John Tidwell (left) look on during a signing ceremony on Wednesday, June 22nd. The bill increases restrictions against registered sex offenders entering public libraries.

Governor Bill Haslam (center) signs Senate Bill 710 as bill sponsors State Senator Tim Barnes (right) and State Representative John Tidwell (left) look on during a signing ceremony on Wednesday, June 22nd. The bill increases restrictions against registered sex offenders entering public libraries.


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2 Responses to “Governor Haslam signs Bill restricting Sex Offenders from Public Libraries”

  1. Rudy101 Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    You know what is such a joke? You have library directors making judicial decisions about the 1st amendment and whether a person has a RIGHT to be in a public library.

    How difficult was this law to pass? Yesterday a person was enjoying the library, not committing any crimes and today, without any action upon his part, without any hearing, he all of a sudden is committing a felony by being at a library.

    It was so easy to pass this law, wasn’t it? I mean, you have the list. You check it at each legislative session and come up with MORE restrictions that have no hearing and no due process. In fact, if you do have any exceptions to a restriction, you ensure that no independent body will EVER be able to weigh the evidence and determine if the restriction is rational as applied to any given person.

    You get to name anyone you want a sex offender, use the list in the most despotic political ways of pandering in fear and you refuse to have any semblance of credibility by allowing an independent tribunal to determine the rights of the citizens.

  2. Rudy101 Says:
    June 23rd, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    You can’t arrest someone for simply being at a library because you say it is dangerous or you don’t like them… Don’t you get that?

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