ROTTERDAM: Town wants law revoked

On Thursday, Aug. 2, town officials held a special meeting to discuss the county's new law restricting where convicted sex offenders can live.

Supervisor Steven Tommasone said the town plans to vote on a resolution asking the county Legislature to rescind the law that he said would negatively impact the suburban towns in Schenectady County.

If the intent of the legislation is to protect kids, this legislation does not do that, Tommasone said.

At the June 12 meeting of the county Legislature, a law was passed that would keep convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park, swimming pool or daycare, and force offenders who currently live in restricted zones to move by Oct. 1.

Rotterdam's Department of Public Works put together a map of the town covered with red circles depicting where sex offenders would be banned. The only areas without red circles were in the northern and western parts of Rotterdam. If the county law goes into effect, by Oct. 1 the highly populated areas of Rotterdam would be off limits to convicted sex offenders of any level.

Officials from Schenectady County's towns including Rotterdam, Glenville and Niskayuna are against the legislation for many reasons, including the fact that offenders would be moved out of the city and could settle in rural areas of Glenville and Rotterdam.

At Thursday's meeting Tommasone said the state should be doing more to protect people from harmful criminals, including using available technology to track and prevent offenders from harming children.

Tommasone said creating arbitrary pedophile-free zones would not stop sex offenders.

"Creating circles doesn't mean that miraculously people won't go there," he said.

Karen Johnson, D-Schenectady, one of the three county legislators who voted against the sex offender legislation made the same point at the Legislature's June 12 meeting. "Restricting where people sleep does not mean we can prevent where they go," Johnson said. Michael Eidens, D-Niskayuna, and Carolina Lazzari, R-Rotterdam, also voted against the legislation.

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