FACING A LAWSUIT, TWENTYNINE PALMS COUNCIL REDUCES SEX OFFENDER RESTRICTIONS

FACING A LAWSUIT, TWENTYNINE PALMS COUNCIL REDUCES SEX OFFENDER RESTRICTIONS

In a turnabout from the hysteria surrounding past discussion on repeal of Twentynine Palms Municipal Code 11.32, the City Council last night held their noses and voted 5-0 to do away with the local law which forbids registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks or day care centers, or from even being within 300 feet of any park or school. Reporter Mike Lipsitz tells us how we got to this point…
The issue of repeal came up in May when the city was threatened with a lawsuit unless it struck down the ordinance which the state supreme court ruled unconstitutional in 2015. So although residency restrictions on registered sex offenders have been unenforceable since that ruling, and despite recommendation for repeal by the city manager and attorneys, the city council has been reluctant to do away with a law that the public made abundantly clear it wanted to retain. At the prior meeting, any decision was tabled pending a public hearing on the matter. That hearing was last night. It drew just one speaker. Meanwhile, the threat of legal action became a suit filed against the city September 5. It was under these conditions, and with acknowledgement from the Morongo Basin Sheriff Station that such sex offenders remain encumbered by a host of state laws, that the council did what they had to do and repealed the local ordinance.
Also last night, following an earlier study session on Project Phoenix staff recommended the city move forward with the project. The Twentynine Palms City Council obliged, authorizing staff to continue to work to define the scope of the project with the developer and other stakeholders.

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