Anyone required to register as a sex offender will be prohibited from photographing minors without parental consent, and living, working or volunteering within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, libraries and a few other locations where minors gather, under Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson, R-Savannah.
The bill resurrects a similar law the Georgia Supreme Court struck down two years ago because it forced sex offenders out of dwellings or jobs they held when the law took effect.
Democrats raised objections that the new residency restrictions, which would not apply to offenders already living or working near schools, would again be challenged in court because they do not address offenders in rental properties, who also have property rights.
Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, said the same federal judge who tossed out the previous law would likely do so again, "so fast it will make your head spin."
But Johnson warned his colleagues about the implications of not approving the bill on the final day of the 2008 legislative session.
"If we do not adopt this bill today, there will be no restrictions to where offenders can live and work," Johnson said.
Violations of the restrictions on residency, employment and volunteering would be punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison; violations of the photography restriction would be a high and aggravated misdemeanor.
Johnson introduced the bill after a constituent complained that a registered sex offender harassed and took a picture of her daughter. The bill later took on the residency and employment restrictions from a House bill that did not survive in a Senate committee.
Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at (404) 589-8424 or email@example.com.