Missouri General Assembly House members attached a provision to a crime bill on Wednesday that would ban sex offenders from "knowingly" entering within 500 feet of a park. The provision would also restrict sex offenders from coaching a sports team that included members younger than 17.
Violation of the bill would send sex offenders to jail for up to four years on their first offense, and up to seven years on their second offense.
Contention arose over a portion of the bill that would apply the law to "other states, countries or tribal courts of offenses that would violate Missouri's sex offender laws." House Democrats wanted to remove other countries, arguing that other governments might "coerce guilty pleas." The original language remained despite their efforts.
The bill received first round approval, and will need a second vote before it goes to the Senate.
If passed, would these sex offender provisions be an effective way to prevent these crimes in Columbia?