A helpful reader informs us that a small town in Iowa (Dyersville to be precise) has decided against repealing an ordinance that bans all sex offenders from residing within the city limits. The ordinance however, is in tension with the state's own residency restrictions which prohibit sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, libraries, and daycare centers. Thus, it appears that the town's ordinance is in a state of limbo. From The Telegraph Herald:
The Dyersville City Council decided not to act Monday on a repeal of an ordinance passed in 2005 that bans all sex offenders from residing within city limits.
Council member Molly Evers, a longtime opponent of the ordinance, cited a recent change in Iowa Code that takes away power from municipalities to adopt ordinances on residency of sex offenders.
[Under Iowa law], "any motion, resolution or ordinance adopted by a political subdivision of the state is void and unenforceable."
Four days after the council meeting, Evers expressed her displeasure with the decision not to move forward. "Dyersville should do the right thing now and bring its ordinance in accord with state law," Evers wrote in an e-mail to the TH. "Unfortunately, though, some people cannot admit it when they are wrong.
City Attorney Marc Casey contacted the Iowa Attorney General's office for "informal" advice before forming his opinion, according to Iowa Attorney General spokesman Bob Brammer.
"In our view, a local ordinance in this realm likely would be preempted by the specific language in the statute," Brammer said. "We encourage any city to consider and research if there are potential liabilities if the city enforces an ordinance that has been preempted or voided by state law."
Heavens said he's not concerned about litigation against the city. "Somebody would have to show they were harmed that they can't live in the city limits of Dyersville," Heavens said. "We have never had (sex offenders) come here and ask us to live here."
Meanwhile, a 19 year old Dyersville man has been charged with the sexual abuse of two 13 year old girls. If he is convicted, it will be interesting whether the town will enforce the residency restriction on a current resident.