A new ordinance that sets rules on where sex offenders can live or visit was introduced by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Under the new ordinance, 902.2 which repeals the loitering provisions set forth in ordinance 902, residency prohibitions will remain in place.
The move, which comes about following Appeals Court rulings on similar ordinances in nearby areas as unconstitutional, is not a popular one with the board, but rather a necessary evil to protect the county from similar lawsuits. Third District Supervisor and Chairman Jeff Stone previously stated that he was against repealing the entire ordinance since there were many measures in place that could be upheld.
Stone has repeatedly expressed concern that the group would be forced to repeal the entire ordinance and be left with no protection against sex offenders.
“We had some good components to our ordinance that are now at the Supreme Court and until such time that we get any contradictory messages from the state Supreme Court, I wanted to keep those regulations on the books to protect our communities,” Stone said.
Ordinance 902.2 will do just that, keeping many measures in place and only repealing loitering prohibitions.
Deputy county counsel Tiffany North explained that the provisions put forth over and above those covered under Jessica’s law would still be in place to safeguard residents. Jessica’s Law was named after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was murdered by a convicted sex offender who failed to notify local police of his location in 2005.
Residency restrictions could change however, pending the outcome of several appeals waiting to be heard by the California Supreme Court.
“The residency restrictions that are over and above Jessica’s Law are still in place pending a final decision from the Supreme Court in those cases,” North said.
With the repeal of the loitering restrictions, several Penal Code sections remain in place to protect residents from sex offenders, including registering with local law enforcement, submission to GPS monitoring and prohibition of entering any park where children regularly gather. Other Penal Code restrictions include sex offenders residing with other sex offenders while on parole and within 2,000 feet of a school or park, entering any school without lawful business and written permission from the school and to disclose the offender’s status as s sex offender when applying for or accepting a job or volunteer position involving direct and unaccompanied contact with minor children.
County Counsel Gregory Priamos said he would be working closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of the local communities.
“We will be looking beyond just sex offenders to individuals that are placed back in our community working closely with probation to try and ensure those that are returned can participate in a lawful manner in reintegration back into our community,” he said. “Those who chose not to do so; we would work closely with law enforcement to address those and to protect neighborhood livability.”
The board approved the reintroduced ordinance 902.2 which is expected to be adopted during the next supervisors meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 5 at 9 a.m.
The board also adopted Resolution 2014-148 allowing the sale of 4.92 acres of real property located in Hemet, entered into an agreement with DHS Consulting for engineering services at a cost of $4.2 million over the next two fiscal years to perform construction management services for the Newport Road Interchange project, approved a Federal Funding Cooperative agreement with the Riverside County Transportation Commission for the same project and passed a motion to approve the use of Community Improvement designation funds for The Humanity of Justice Foundation in Murrieta in the amount of $2,000, for the Anza Electric Cooperative in the amount of $1,000 and for the California VFW Motorcycle Club in the amount of $1,000.