Governor signs Delegate Bell's House Bill 1485

Published: Mar. 21, 2017 at 10:35 PM EDT
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Delegate Dickie Bell, who represents the 20th District in the House of Delegates, has come up with a new bill called House Bill 1485.

The bill amends the current code that restrains offenders convicted of sex crimes, from being within a certain distance of children and was just passed by Governor McAullife on Monday.

"They have to stay 100 feet away if they're in a public venue and they have to reside at least 500 feet away from schools, playgrounds and places like that," Bell said.

Bell said he and other staff were warned of some loopholes in the current laws and believed now was time for a change.

"The problem arose because folks convicted of the same crimes in other jurisdictions, in other states for example, could come into Virginia and actually get a free pass," said Bell.

The new passed bill will make sure those offenders from other states are held accountable in Virginia, too.

"If you were convicted in another state or another jurisdiction. That you will be subject to Virginia law, if you're a convicted sex offender. For the designated crimes that we apply this too," Bell said.

So far, the bill has received a ton of support, according to Bell and he is proud to see it passed.

"The Association for the Commonwealth Attorneys of Virginia supported us. Law enforcement, both state and local law enforcement got behind it," said Bell. "So it was a very popular concept and we were fortunate of enough to get it passed."

The bill goes into effect July 1st, 2017.