In an effort to protect children from sex crimes, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly approved a new ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from taking up permanent residence within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare facility or public park.

Approved at the assembly’s July 18 meeting, the ordinance does not apply to sex offenders who live in a restricted zone prior to the new law. Sex offenders may not, however, purchase or lease a new permanent residence within the restricted areas.

Introduced by Assemblyman Ron Bernier, the law is applicable to all areas within the Mat-Su Borough that are outside the city limits of Houston, Palmer and Wasilla.

Over the next two months, all sex offenders within prohibited zones will receive a notice of the new law. Failure to receive a notification, however, is not a defense against violations.

Sex offenders can request exemptions to the restrictions if they believe enforcement of the law would violate a constitutional or statutory right under federal or state law.

The vote to enact the new law was approved along a 4-3 vote with Mayor Edna DeVries breaking the tie. Those voting against the ordinance were assembly members Dmitri Fonov, Dee McKee and Stephanie Nowers. Members voting for the restrictions were Rob Yundt, Ron Bernier and Mokie Tew.

In voting against the ordinance, both Nowers and McKee said they supported efforts to protect children from sex crimes, but were concerned that the law would not be effective at accomplishing this goal. In particular, they raised concerns about forcing sex offenders to reside in certain areas of the Mat-Su Borough.

Bernier countered that the law is “a start,” and it sends a “strong message.”

In terms of state law, sex offenders in Alaska are not subject to community notification, nor is law enforcement obligated to notify the public of the presence of an offender in their area.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has introduced legislation to address sex offenders. His H.B. 68 and S.B. 65 would mandate that all offenders moving into the state be listed in Alaska sex offender database.

Currently, sex offenders registered in another state do not always need to reregister in Alaska upon moving to the state. Child advocates have argued that his loophole has made Alaska a haven for sex offenders. According to the state database, Alaska has 3,372 registered sex offenders statewide. That is the most per 100,000 people of any state in the country.

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Mat-Su bans sex offenders from living near childcare centers, schools, parks

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Chuck says:

    The fear is misplaced and presence restrictions do nothing to reduce sex crime and are believed to increase sex crimes by destabilizing the lives of those forced to register and their family members. A study conducted of sexual crimes in New York by Jeffrey Sandler, Kelly Socia, and Naomi Freeman in 2008 found more than 95 percent of registerable sexual offenses and more than 94 percent of sexual offenses against children in the state are committed by first-time offenders. The researchers reviewed more than 170,000 charged sexual offenses in the state between 1986 and 2006. To read an abstract or the full report visit

  • HomesDC says:

    Average walking speed for the unathletic adult is 4-5 feet per second. This means that such a person, intent on entering a school, daycare facility or public park in order to commit a s3x crime against a child, can cover the 1,000 foot distance from their residence in 3-4 minutes ON FOOT. Not to mention using an automobile, motorcycle or bicycle. Great Law! We are all much safer now?
    BTW – how many cases are there of persons required to register committing such crimes in such locations? And of those (haven’t hear of any), how many have done so within a 4 minute walk from their front door? There is no shortage of persons not on the registry committing such crimes in such locations. What is the goal here……?

  • Akdale says:

    Alaska has 3,372 registered sex offenders statewide. That is the most per 100,000 people of any state in the country.
    PLUS the ones who move here and dont register. Wow

  • Nunya says:

    How about banning them from living period.. Or at least the borough.