(Missourinet)– A southern Missouri lawmaker wants to keep sex offenders away from state Conservation areas, to protect children and families.

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, chairs the House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Conservation. Her bill will be heard Monday at noon by the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee in Jefferson City.

House Bill 2142 is a one-page bill. It would ban registered sex offenders from nature or education centers controlled by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and sex offenders would have to stay at least 500 feet away from those areas.

Under the bill, the first violation would be a class E felony, and any subsequent violations would be a class D felony.

Kelly tells Missourinet her intent is to keep children and residents safe in and near Conservation nature and education centers. The Missouri Department of Conservation has several of these facilities. They include the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, the Springfield Conservation Nature Center and the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center in southeast Missouri.

Schoolchildren frequently visit Conservation nature and education centers.

State law currently bans registered sex offenders from being within 500 feet of public parks with playground equipment, public swimming pools and children’s museums.

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