The following bills are being considered or have passed in the state legislature. To express your support or opposition, contact your state senator or representative.Texas law bars sex offenders from on‐campus housingBill data: Texas House Bill 355 was introduced on Nov. 11, 2016, by Rep. John Raney and 19 co‐sponsors.Bill status: The bill was signed into law on June 1, 2017, and went into effect on Sept. 1, 2017.Description: The law prohibits most registered sex offenders from living in dorms on private and public colleges and universities. The law allows institutions to have discretion in determining whether some low‐risk offenders may live in on‐campus housing.Although campuses in Texas, including Texas Tech University, the University of Texas System, Texas State University, and Texas A&M, did not allow sex offenders to live in campus housing, the law codifies such policies. Of the roughly 1.5 million students enrolled in higher education in Texas, fewer than 700 are registered sex offenders.Analysis: Proponents of the law believe it can help deter sexual assault and also prevent victims of sexual assault from being retraumatized by having to share housing with perpetrators of sexual assault. The impetus for Raney's sponsorship for the bill came when a female constituent told him she had been forced to live down the hall from a student who sexually assaulted her the year before.Opponents of the law believe it is unlikely to prevent or decrease the number of sexual assaults happening on campus each year, as many sexual assaults are not committed on campuses by repeat sexual offenders. In addition, opponents argue that the majority of on‐campus rapists are not criminally adjudicated, and so would not show up on sexual offense registries.Mary Sue Molnar, executive director of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, a group that advocates for registered sex offenders, said it was unlikely to make any impact on campuses, as most sex offenders would not want to live on campus anyway, due to the stigma they already face.Potential impact:Would prevent Texas private and public colleges and universities from allowing registered sex offenders to live in on‐campus dorms and housing. Would allow institutions the possibility of granting on‐campus housing to some low‐risk sexual offenders.Universities could lose funding if sanctuary bill passesBill data: Kentucky House Bill 501 was introduced on March 30, 2017, by Representative Lynn Bechler.Bill status: The bill is currently under debate.Description: The bill would implement harsh financial penalties to any cities and universities within the state that have sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants in place that limit communication or cooperation with federal immigration officials.Last year, the Louisville Metro Council enacted a rule blocking local law enforcement from helping U.S. federal agents on immigration stings. If the bill passes, Louisville could potentially lose $36.5 million in state funding.Analysis: Proponents of the bill believe that such measures are necessary to protect local communities. “As long as there are government agencies that promote this acceptance of people breaking the law, I just think we are lessening the protection of our country,” Bechler told the Courier Journal.Opponents believe that more than ever, it is important for cities such as Louisville to send a message to international communities that local police officers are separate from federal officials enforcing immigration law. “[This bill] is an affront to our city, its leaders, and its residents. It is offensive and could cause significant harm to our economy,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said to the Courier Journal.Potential impact:Would cause loss of funding for Kentucky public colleges and universities that have a sanctuary policy in place for undocumented students or faculty and staff.
Campus Security Report – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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