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      Senate approves bill cracking down on how close sex offenders can be to daycares

      Senate Bill 76, introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act to prohibit sex offenders from being within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care center.

      The Senate unanimously approved legislation that would stop child sex offenders from being around day care centers.

      Senate Bill 76, introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act to prohibit sex offenders from being within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care center.

      "When Michigan parents drop off their children at a day care center, they expect that it is a place where their children can have fun and play - safe from sexual predators," Booher said. "Michigan law helps prevent sex offenders from repeating their criminal sexual acts through safety restrictions, such as banning violators from loitering within a student safety zone."

      Booher said his legislation would take that protection that is now currently used in schools and expand it to child care centers.

      Senate Bill 76 would allow exceptions for parents who are transporting their own children to school or day care. Another exception would allow for parents who are going to the school or day care center for the purpose of meeting with an employee regarding his or her child's enrollment.

      Additional legislation, Senate Bill 77, would establish sentencing guidelines.

      Under Booher's bill, a first-time violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of not more than $1,000 or both. Violations with one or more prior SORA convictions would face a felony punishable by no more than two years in prison, a fine of up to $2,000 or both.

      "We own it to each Michigan child to take every precaution possible to protect him or her from sexual predators," Booher said. "By approving this legislation, the Senate said loud and clear to sex offenders: stay away from our kids and stop hanging around day care centers."

      The bill will now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.