In a vote of 4 to 1, the City Council for the City of Orange agreed on August 12 to eliminate all presence restrictions that prohibited registered citizens from visiting public libraries, parks, bus stops, schools and restaurants with playgrounds. The City Council also agreed to stop enforcement of its residency restrictions which prohibited more than one registered citizen staying in a local hotel or motel until the California Supreme Court determines whether residency restrictions are constitutional. The dissenting vote cast on this issue during the August 12 meeting was by Councilman Bilodeau who did not speak to the issue prior to his vote.
“This is a significant victory for more than 100,000 registered citizens and members of their families,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “No longer will they be denied access to public and private places.”
The City Council members refused in a previous council meeting to revise the city’s sex offender ordinance despite a strong recommendation from City Attorney Wayne Winthers to do so. Some of the City Council members stated during the Augusut 12 meeting that they were reluctantly agreeing to eliminate presence restrictions because it would save the city’s taxpayers an estimated $500,000 in legal fees. One member of the City Council acknowledged the California Court of Appeal decision which determined that a similar ordinance in the City of Irvine was preempted by state law.
California RSOL filed a lawsuit in federal district court challenging the city’s ordinance on June 17. The lawsuit was filed after California RSOL sent a series of letters to the City starting in January 2014. The letters notified the City of Orange that its ordinance violated the state and federal constitutions and warned that the city could be sued if it did not revise or repeal its ordinance. The City of Orange has agreed to pay attorneys fees and related costs in order to settle the lawsuit.