Habitual or aggravated sex offenders would be banned from all parks in Oklahoma under a bill approved Monday by the state House of Representatives.
The bill defines parks broadly to include any public area designated for recreational purposes “that is operated or supported in whole or in part by an association of homeowners, or a city, town, county, state or federal government authority.”
Senate Bill 1364 was amended in the House, so it will now go back to the Senate for further consideration.
State Rep. Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette, said the bill was requested by the state Tourism and Recreation Department after rangers reported problems with convicted sex offenders camping out and loitering in state parks.
The state has 35 state parks, Cockroft said. The state’s chief ranger surveyed rangers from those parks and received responses from nine of them, he said.
Rangers in those nine parks reported encounters with 616 sex offenders within the last year.
Their responses included confrontations with 88 that had been categorized by the state Corrections Department as habitual or aggravated sex offenders, Cockroft said.
Habitual and aggravated sex offenders represent the “vilest of the vile,” he said.
I’m just saying, if they’re a sex offender, they should not be allowed at a park with my 3-year-old.”
State Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha,