The Wasilla City Council will introduce an ordinance at its Jan. 9 meeting which aims to bar registered sex offenders from taking up residence within 1,000 feet of schools, daycares and public parks.
A memo on the proposed law says it is needed to protect Wasilla’s most vulnerable population, namely children.
While states and cities across the nation have taken steps to restrict where sex offenders can live, the State of Alaska does not. Rather, the state requires sex offenders who pose a danger to society to register in a state database.
According to the memo, the only places limiting where sex offenders can live in Alaska are found in Anchorage and Nome.
“There is substantial public and community debate regarding the risks posed by sex offenders living near where children congregate as well as the housing of sex offenders in residential districts,” the memo states.
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It goes on to note that since 2019, in the State of Alaska, individuals placed on the sex offender registry have the ability to contest registration by demonstrating that they no longer pose a risk to society.
“Thus, it is reasonable for Council to determine that the State registry only includes sex offenders that pose a risk to society and that this risk of harm is more substantial for Wasilla’s most vulnerable population, namely its children,” the memo states.
The proposed ordinance does not apply retroactively. Those in supervised housing programs will be allowed to complete their programs, and registered sex offenders leasing property in a prohibited area will be able to complete their lease terms. Likewise, those owning property, and using it as a primary residence, will not be forced to move.
The ordinance will be introduced at the Jan. 9 meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (290 E. Herning Avenue). On Jan. 23, there will be a public hearing on the matter.