On April 2, I went to Columbus to testify against HB 111, the latest bill regulating sex offenders under the auspices of ¨protecting our children (¨Destroying Families · Again, Porkopolis blog post, April 4). The bill expands the definition of ¨child negligence to anyone who knowingly allows a sex offender in a home with little children. If you do so, you can be prosecuted; if you are the parent, Social Services can take your children away.
Further, this bill would make it illegal for anyone found guilty of a sexual offense to ever get married and have children or live with and raise their children if they already have them.
After my testimony, I stopped by the office of the bills sponsor, State Rep. Thom Collier (R-Mount Vernon), and spoke with his legislative aide, who made several statements regarding HB 111 that were naively inaccurate — the greatest being her statement that ¨the only thing this bill does is allow Social Services to enter a home and investigate. I explained that there were already measures in place to do exactly what this bill outlines and asked why we were spending so much time and resources to duplicate services that already exist.
The aide replied that Social Services can investigate only when a report has been filed and HB 111 would eliminate that requirement and allow Social Services to enter any home where a sex offender resided at any time. I tried to explain the dangers of this bill and the unintended consequences that would ensue if it were passed into law.
¨What about the parents who arent responsible, the aide said. ¨Not all parents are as responsible as you.
¨Youre right, I said, ¨but who gets to decide what is and isnt responsible?
¨Social Services, she answered. She then went on to use an example of one of her neighbors whos a young mother. The neighbors family situation did in fact sound like a case of neglect.
¨So, I asked the aide, ¨did you report this woman to Social Services? Without any hesitation she responded, ¨Of course not. Thats none of my business.
Despite all my efforts, I couldnt get her to realize the irony in her statement.