Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NORTH TONAWANDA — Members of the Niagara County Republican party this week urged Democratic Assemblyman Robin Schimminger to push for passage of a sex offender bill that he initially sponsored three years ago.
During a Wednesday press conference at City Hall, Mayor Rob Ortt, City Attorney Shawn Nickerson and Niagara County Legislator Paul Wojtaszek called on Schimminger to bring his bill to a vote in the Assembly before the state Legislature goes into recess next week.
A companion bill sponsored by state Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, was approved by the Senate this past Tuesday.
The bill would prohibit all currently registered sex offenders, levels 1, 2 and 3, from establishing residence within 1,350 feet of schools and other children’s gathering places, statewide.
Currently, state laws place residency prohibitions on Level 3 registered sex offenders who are on parole or probation. They’re barred from establishing residency within 1,000 feet of child-centered places.
Wojtaszek, who co-authored a 2008 Niagara County law imposing a wider limit on more offenders, challenged Schimminger to finish what he started.
“If he cannot get it passed (in the Assembly), it shows me that his sponsorship of this legislation was nothing more than a hollow act designed to placate the public,” Wojtaszek said.
Schimminger countered through a written statement that the Republican attack was less about the bill and more about political maneuvering at a time he was not readily available to respond. The bill, introduced in the Assembly back in January, is currently held in its Committee on Correction for review, he said.
“It’s unfortunate that Legislator Wojtaszek and Mayor Ortt chose today, a day that they should know I am in Albany, to hold a press conference on this matter and with just a handful of days left in session,” he said. “I will however continue to work to get this legislation passed in the Assembly.”