2 local lawmakers to introduce legislation closing loophole in Megan’s Law

Two local lawmakers plan to introduce legislation that they said will close a loophole in Megan’s Law.

Channel 11 was the first to tell you last month that a lot of parents in Hampton Township are pushing for harsher laws after a registered sex offender, who is deemed by the state as a sexually violent predator, recently moved next door to the Central Elementary School.

Currently in Pennsylvania, there are no laws restricting where sex offenders under Megan’s Law live once they serve their sentence and are released from probation or parole.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE >> Lawmakers join in as parents push for harsher laws after registered sex offender moves near school

After seeing our original story and hearing from concerned parents, state representatives Rob Mercuri and Arvind Venkat who both represent Hampton Township now plan to introduce bills with stricter restrictions on offenders.

“What I am planning on proposing is that a sexually violent predator should not live within 2,500 feet of a school, childcare facility or preschool and those who are living within that distance now would be asked to move within six months away from those locations,” said state rep. Arvind Venkat.

“We know other states, 21 in fact, have similar laws already in place that close that loophole so we are borrowing language from other states who have tried this approach,” said state rep. Rob Mercuri.

A Hampton Township parent said she is thrilled both state reps. are trying to get new legislation passed.

“As a Hampton resident, I am extremely proud of our community. We rallied together. We put pressure on the legislator, and it worked,” said Katie Wyward.

RELATED >> Some parents frustrated after sex offender moves next to local school, no laws to prevent it

Both lawmakers said they are working together across the aisle to make communities safer.

“We think an issue like this that affects our kids across the state and their safety will be applauded by both sides of the aisle,” said Rep. Mercuri.

After both bipartisan bills are introduced, it will be assigned to a judiciary committee for consideration and then the chairman will decide whether and when to put it up for a vote.

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