Following the June passage of a two-part sex offender law by the Schenectady County Legislature, many town leaders spoke out about the negative repercussions the legislation would have on their communities.
In response to the criticism, the county legislature met on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and again on Thursday, Aug. 23, to rework the law that prohibited sex offenders of any level from living within 2,000 feet of places where children congregate, leaving the rural municipalities of Duanesburg, Princetown and Western Glenville as some of the only places where newly released sex offenders may reside in the county. The law also stated that sex offenders living within the described boundaries would need to relocate by Oct. 1.
At the Thursday meeting, the county rewrote the law to remove the relocation deadline and exempt level one sex offenders from the restrictions. The 2,000 foot restriction will only apply to newly released sex offenders. County and municipal leaders will, in the next 90 days, further examine notification of residents, requiring landlord to notify tenants, creating a housing facility for level three repeat offenders, expanding the use of monitoring devices, and possibly restricting any contact with children under 18 for those individuals who are considered the most dangerous and likely to be a repeat offender.
After 90 days local authorities, social workers, town supervisors and legislators will meet to reexamine the law and its success. Any permanent changes will be made to the law at that time.
We need to now move forward with this law by examining what is best for both the city as well as the five municipalities. This law was originally passed with little to no input from the people who know best how to handle these situations, said Glenville Supervisor Frank Z. Quinn.
Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage, D-Niskayuna, who has been criticized for her support of the original law, said she expects town supervisors to do their part in creating a law that satisfies the majority of county residents.