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Published on Friday, January 25, 2013

Legislature examining potential abuse of sex offender rental vouchers

HB 1232  and its companion SB 5105 address concerns with rental vouchers provided to registered sex offenders. The Department of Corrections can issue housing vouchers to cover rent for up to three months to qualifying offenders. Qualifications include low-level crimes, good behavior, and positive evaluations. Some of our cities are seeing these vouchers potentially being taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords who will pack multiple registered sex offenders into one home. This is a concern, not only for public safety and neighborhood security, but for the healthy environment for these newly released offenders as they continue their rehabilitation and reintegrate into society.

This bill seeks to limit the number of sex offenders using these vouchers to three per residence and adds criteria to limit the location of Level III offenders to 880 feet away from schools and child care centers. The purpose is to remove the profit motive so that an unscrupulous landlord can’t take advantage of the voucher program. Many groups are working on this bill to achieve a positive outcome to protect neighborhoods and create safe environment for recently released offenders. AWC supports these bills.

HB 1232 is scheduled in the House Public Safety Committee at 8am on January 29.

SB 5105 is scheduled in the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee at 10am on January 31. 

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