Iowa lawmakers who are faced with a deadline to enact Adam Walsh Act-compliant laws might use the opportunity to eliminate the state's 2,000 foot residency restriction. From the Chicago Tribune:
Under the federal law, sex offenders would have to stay on an online public registry at least five years longer, reveal more personal information about where they work and go to school, and face more supervision from law enforcement.
If Iowa doesn't comply with the federal provisions by the July deadline, the state could lose up to $450,000 for law enforcement activities.
For some Iowa lawmakers, the federal law is providing an opportunity to toss out the state's 2,000-foot state rule that bans sex offenders from living near child care centers and schools.
The proposed legislation would replace that residency restriction with "exclusion zones," which would limit where sex offenders may be present or loiter and require written permission to visit school grounds and child care centers.
Baudler and others say that while the federal law does not require Iowa to repeal its 2,000-foot rule, it would provide lawmakers some cover if they want to do so.
"If they're afraid of political ramifications, I can assure them that anything we move forward with is better than what we have now," Baudler said.
Iowa was one of the first states to implement its residency restriction law (because its litigation finished with relative speed). It also adopted one of the largest exclusion zones of 2,000 feet. It would be a very significant signal nationwide if Iowa decided to abandon its residency restriction program. It might even turn the tide against such laws in other states.