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Pending sex offender legislation

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Oklahoma lawmakers will tell you one of hottest topics with citizens this year is sex offenders. That's why there are a dozen proposed bills or amendments in the Oklahoma Legislature aimed at tracking and punishing sex offenders.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright talks to the people who will have to enforce those bills if they become law.

The red circles on a map at the Tulsa Police Department shows the 2,000 foot safe zone around public and private schools where convicted sex offenders are not allowed to live after they've served their time. The green circles show the safe zone around parks where they can't live, that's a new law that just passed.

Tulsa Police agree the intent is good, but with only two officers, checking more than 500 sex offenders' addresses isn't practical. Tulsa Police Sgt. John Adams: "We used to be able to verify every address within 10 days, we'd go knock on their doors to make sure they lived there but, right now, we're not doing that, we don't have the manpower."

Police like a proposed law that requires sex offenders to get their driver's license renewed every year instead of every four like everybody else. They also like one that requires sex offenders to pay a $60 annual registration fee and $10 everytime they change their address.

They think it's also a good idea to be able to seize assets used in sex crimes, like is currently done in drug crimes. Sgt John Adams: "You have a predator online who sends a 14 year old child in Kansas City a bus ticket then picks him up at the bus station in his car and takes him to the house, we could seize the computer, the car and his house."

Tulsa Police aren't so crazy about a bill that says sex offenders can't hang out anywhere teenagers congregate, that could include malls, churches, soccer fields and there's no hope of enforcing it.

They had also hoped legislators would stop lumping all sex offenders in one category, so they can focus most on people who are the biggest threat. Most of these proposed laws deal with strangers who assault children, but the truth is, many more children are raped or molested by a family member or friend.

Most state lawmakers will tell you, even if the law isn't that great, if it deals with a sex offender, they can't vote against it, because it would be political suicide.
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