Tampa votes for law limiting where sex offenders and predators may loiter

03/22/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

A day after Hillsborough County Commissioners passed a law creating so-called Child Safety Zones to protect children from sexual predators within 300 feet, the Tampa City voted unanimously today to restrict where sexual offenders and predators may loiter


The ordianance is more modest than what was originally proposed  several months ago – an out right ban on all sex offenders from Tampa’s city limits.


There are several bills in the state legislature that would address a ban on sex offenders and/or predators.  Councilman John Dingfelder asked City Attorney David Smith today if the City should drop any discussion of such an Ordinance until the state weighs in (roll tape#1 o.q.”waste of time and money”)          


But City Attorney David Smith said that if the City decided not to immediately act, the Ordinance passed Wednesday by the Hillsborough County Commission would become the law in Tampa.         


Another Attorney for the City, Julie Kabougeris, listed some of the difference between what the County has passed and what the City’s pending legislation calls for

(roll tape#2 o.q.”a longer list”)


Victims advocate Judy Cornett then addressed the Council.  Cornett is an advocate for tougher  sex offender laws and has been since her then 11 year son was molested 15 years ago.  She says she supports new laws, but says the City and County are not enforcing current laws on the books against sex offenders.


She said she has been working in the Sulpher Springs area in the past few weeks, and participated in 3 different arrests of sex offenders   (roll tape#3 o.q.”   within 1 mile”)


The Sulpher Springs area is currently represented on the Tampa city Council by Frank Reddick.  (roll tape#4 o.q.”in one particular area”) 


Cornett said there were multiple reasons for that(roll tape#5 o.q.”  themself”)


Reddick then called for a representative from the Tampa Police to address the Council next week to discuss the cluster of sex offenders in Sulpher Springs.


After weighing their options, The City Council voted to continue working on their own ordinance.  But  Councilman Chip Fletcher suggested to City Attorney David Smith that the City use a more encompassing list of offenders from Hillsborough County , if it passed legal muster (roll tape#6 o.q.”of what you’re doing”).

The City Council also agreed to write a letter to State Representative Rich Glorioso about having the state of Florida change their  registration process when sex offenders from   outside the state move to Florida. 

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