San Antonio City Council today is expected to approve a controversial measure that will prevent almost all registered sex offenders from setting foot in city parks, or from living within 1,000 feet of a park, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The proposal by northeast side Councilman Carlton Soules has been unanimously approved by two council committees.
"There are a couple of exemptions," Soules said. "If the sex offense occurred when somebody was a minor or if they are a minor they will be exempting. If they currently live within the thousands foot zone, they will be exempted as well."
The measure will allow police to immediately remove sex offenders from parks, and calls for a misdemeanor trespassing fine, but Soules says that arrest could trigger much more serious consequences for the sex offender.
"If the offender is on parole or probation, they have the ability to remove them immediately, and then look into whether this constitutes repeal of their parole or probation," he said.
Soules says women have the right to jog in city parks and children have the right to play in city parks without having creepy sex offenders leering at them.
One problem with the ordinance has been overcome by an amendment. Technically, the entire Riverwalk is a city park, and Soules changed his bill to make sure that sex offenders were not barred from a large part of downtown.
"It would make the Riverwalk part of the ordinance at River Level," he said. "So the street level and the thousand foot setback within the downtown area would be exempted, but the Riverwalk itself would be under the effect of the ordinance."
If approved by City Council, the ordinance will take effect in March, which Soules says will give time for sex offenders to be notified, and signs to be erected notifying sex offenders to stay out.