Assembly may take up N.J. standards for sex offender residency

Time is running out for the New Jersey Assembly to set statewide guidelines on where sex offenders can live.

The legislation would permit municipalities to enact an ordinance preventing convicted sex offenders from living within 500 feet of schools, playgrounds, and child-care centers.

Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt said Tuesday previous efforts by individual towns to set restrictions were declared unconstitutional.

“Many of our townships were setting the distance from a playground or child-care center to be 2,500 feet—in which case, in some of the municipalities, that would not allow anybody to live,” she said.

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The state Senate passed the bill in April.

Lampitt, who said the legislation would provide uniformity that could withstand challenges, said she hopes the Assembly will approve it at its final meeting of the current session Monday.

“We’re instituting something that’s constitutional. We’re doing it in a way that can be cost effective for our municipalities and, most importantly, keeping our children safe,” she said.

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