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Schenectady County sex offender laws to get another look

Duanesburg Supervisor Rene Merrihew presented the Legislature with a petition signed by 750 people in Duanesburg asking lawmakers to rescind both laws.

"The town of Duanesburg has been responsive in a way I have never seen before," Merrihew said.

She said lawmakers were moving in the right direction to consider exempting Level 1 sex offenders from the restrictions and rescinding the eviction law, but she wants to see more done. Merrihew said the Legislature should meet with local experts and consider all stakeholders before making a final decision.

A few of the county legislators who spoke adamantly for these laws in June stepped back and admitted that the laws were made in haste, and, as a body, the Legislature needed to listen closer to the public.

Robert Farley, R-Glenville said the best ideas come from the public.

"We all agree, as a Legislature, that we need to listen more," he said. "We need to listen to our law enforcement, experts, local governments and other stakeholders."

Farley also agreed that exempting Level 1 sex offenders was a good idea. He said Level 1 sex offenders are not the child molesters that this law is intended for.

Joseph Suhrada, R-Rotterdam, agreed that the laws needed second look.

"Politicians don't say sorry very often, but sometime we have to," he said. "We need to look hard at this again."

Michael Eidens, D-Niskayuna, was one of the three legislators who voted against these laws in June. He supported the public hearings but said he also supports rescinding both laws and starting from scratch.

Eidens said the Legislature should bring in local experts and hold meetings with local law enforcement and town governments before making a decision.

"We need to come up with something workable and bipartisan," Eidens said.

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