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ROTTERDAM: Town asks for repeal of sex offender law

Rotterdam's Town Board unanimously passed a resolution asking the Schenectady County Legislature to rescind its law restricting where sex offenders can live at the board's Wednesday, Aug. 8, meeting .

The resolution urges the county Legislature, state Legislature and the governor to instead pass New York's Jessica's Law, which creates stricter punishments for sexual crimes against children and for repeat offenders. It also requires that Level 3 sex offenders wear GPS tracking devices for life.

We achieve nothing with this law, Supervisor Steven Tommasone said of the county's law, which restricts sex offender from living within 2,000 feet of places where children would gather. "We want something effective and comprehensive. Jessica's Law is much more effective."

Although passed unanimously, the resolution did receive a bit of discussion at the meeting.

Council member Robert Godlewski, a Democrat, said he was concerned about the wording of the resolution, particularly the word "demand," and the fact that the resolution asked for the abolishment of the law.

He said he worried that if the law were completely rescinded, it would leave the community members in Schenectady County vulnerable to potential predators who were moving in from other counties because Rensselear, Saratoga and Albany counties all have similar residency restriction laws.

He said the towns should be working with the county Legislature to reach some agreement about the sex offender laws rather than demanding to rescind them.

Godlewski proposed a vote to change the wording of the resolution to make it friendlier, but was defeated 3-to-2 along party lines.

Town officials are pushing for the state to step in and pass Jessica's Law, which was passed in the Senate last year.

Jessica's Law was first passed in Florida and was written in response to the abduction, sexual assault and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lundsford by a registered sex offender living in her neighborhood.

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