Venkat seeks to protect children’s welfare

House Bill 77 would prevent sexually violent predators from living near schools and day-care centers.

HARRISBURG, Sept. 12 – Today, the House Judiciary Committee hosted a hearing on H.B. 77, sponsored by Reps. Arvind Venkat, D-Allegheny, and Tina Davis, D-Bucks, to prevent sexually violent predators from residing near schools and day-care centers.

Venkat introduced H.B. 77 to address concerns of constituents who contacted him and Rep. Rob Mercuri, R-Allegheny, after a sexually violent predator moved in close proximity of an elementary school in the Hampton School District.

The bill would amend Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) to prohibit sexually violent predators from residing within 2,500 feet of a day-care center or public, private, or parochial school.

“While sexually violent predators must register under Megan’s Law, they may live where they choose, potentially putting children at risk,” Venkat said. “My legislation would change that and align Pennsylvania with a number of other states that enacted more robust residential restrictions, bolstering community safety and security, especially for our children.”

With one in four girls and one in six boys estimated to experience sexual violence prior to their 18th birthday, this bill would help to reduce the risk of sexually predatory behavior towards children in the commonwealth, he noted.

Twenty states have residency restrictions in effect for all registered sex offenders. In Pennsylvania, such restrictions are determined case-by-case.