City of Lincoln
2006 Media Releases
Mayor Seng today asked the City Council to advance a revised sex offender residency restriction ordinance currently on the pending file.
Earlier this year, the Mayor asked the City Council to place the issue on pending until the outcome of the Nebraska Legislature’s 2006 session. Mayor Seng lobbied the Legislature extensively, including having Lincoln Police Chief Tom Casady address the Legislature on two occasions. Mayor Seng encouraged the Legislature to adopt a uniform statewide law regarding sex offender residency restrictions. The Mayor’s stance was motivated by a wave of restrictive sex offender residency laws in Iowa and other cities that had the potential to drive more sex offenders into Lincoln.
“Today, I’m asking the City Council to help make Lincoln a safer community,” said Seng. “I’m pleased to say that the Legislature agreed with our position and acted to provide a uniform standard that stops the ability of one community to force its sex offenders into another. It is a reasonable response to the challenge of protecting children from high-risk sex offenders.”
Based on the Legislature’s action, the Mayor plans to alter the proposed ordinance in two ways. The Mayor’s initial proposal was based on a 1,000-foot restriction around schools. State law now requires that restriction be no greater than 500 feet. The new 500-foot zone led to the second change in the Mayor’s proposal.
Because many children walk to school, the initial version covered only elementary and middle schools to ensure that sex offenders in Lincoln wouldn’t be forced into only a few neighborhoods. The 500-foot standard helped alleviate that concern and, after conferring with Chief Casady, the Mayor decided to include Lincoln’s high schools in the ordinance.
“This new proposal is a victory for the City of Lincoln,” said Seng. “It will put the safety of our children first. It simply is not in the best interests of our community to have dangerous sex offenders living within close proximity to schools. I urge the City Council to move forward on this proposal without delay.”