The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri support legislation aimed at keeping registered sex offenders away from state Conservation areas.

House Bill 1090 is sponsored by State Rep. Barry Hovis (R-Whitewater), a former law enforcement officer with more than 30 years of experience. The House Public Safety Committee approved the bill 8-0, and it’s expected to go to the Missouri House floor sometime after the spring break.

State Rep. Barry Hovis (R-Whitewater) speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 3, 2021 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

The bill would ban most registered sex offenders from being 500 feet from any Missouri Department of Conservation nature or education center. The Conservation Department has several of these facilities, which include the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City and the Springfield Conservation Nature Area. Schoolchildren frequently visit Runge and the other Conservation nature and education centers.

Hovis’ bill is the same bill filed in 2020 by State Rep. Hannah Kelly (R-Mountain Grove).

Current Missouri state law bans sex offenders from being 500 feet of public parks with playground equipment, public swimming pools and children’s museums.

Missouri lawmakers return to Jefferson City on Monday. They’re finishing their annual spring break.

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