Residency restriction laws are under fire across the country, including in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee City Council is considering a proposal to ease its current 2,000 foot residency restriction, to 500 feet.
The move is in response to a lawsuit filed against the city by six registered sex offenders.
The city’s current ordinance bans many sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of places like schools, parks and day care centers. A measure set to be considered Monday by the Common Council would reduce that “buffer” to 500 feet.
The proposal would also ease requirements for family members who have sex offenders living with them, and exempt those offenders whose most recent crime and incarceration was more than 10 years ago. And it would limit the city’s residency restrictions to apply only to sex offenders required to register under state law for offenses against children.
Under the current ordinance, only about 115 residential properties are available for registered citizens.
With all the caveats in the new proposal, perhaps the city should just throw in the towel , admit that legislating people into homelessness is bad public policy, and scrap the restrictions altogether.