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Governor McAuliffe Signs Sex Offender Bill Patroned by Dickie Bell

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Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond (FILE) Virginia State Capitol Building in Richmond (FILE)

Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed 20th District Republican Delegate Dickie Bell’s bill that will help keep sex offenders out of communities.

Bell's bill expands restrictions that keep violators from being within a certain proximity of children to offenders from outside Virginia.

In a statement, Bell says the bill stems from a constituent who was frustrated criminals from out-of-state were not held to the same requirements.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2017.

Press Release from Delegate Richard P. "Dickie" Bell: 

STAUNTON, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell announced today that Governor McAuliffe has signed House Bill 1485. House Bill 1485, patroned by Delegate Bell, amends the current code relating to offenders who have been convicted of sex crimes that prohibit them from being within a certain proximity to children.

Under current code, qualifying offenders are prohibited from loitering or residing within 100 feet of any premises defined as a school, child day program, playground, athletic field or facility, or gymnasium. They are also prohibited from working or engaging in ay volunteer activity on the property of a school or daycare center.

This legislation expands the list of qualifying offenses to include any offense under the law of any other jurisdiction that is similar to such qualifying offense for any conviction after July 1, 2017. “I am pleased that Governor McAuliffe has signed House Bill 1485 into law” said Delegate Bell. “This legislation was brought to me by a constituent who was frustrated by the fact that sex offenders who were convicted of certain crimes outside of Virginia were not held to the same loitering and residential requirements and restrictions as those who committed crimes in the Commonwealth.

The General Assembly agreed with him and passed this legislation overwhelmingly. By enacting this legislation, we are making Virginia’s children safer. I thank the Governor for his support.” This legislation applies to sex offenses involving minor victims including any nonconsensual or consensual sexual act with a minor, abduction of a minor, child pornography and obscenity offenses, and failure to register or reregister as a sex offender for any of the previously listed offenses.

The full text and history of House Bill 1485 can be found online at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=171&typ=bil&val=hb1485&submit=GO. This bill will go into effect July 1, 2017. Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Nelson Counties, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. He is currently serving in his fourth term.  

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