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MA: Westfield moves to repeal unconstitutional sex offender ordinance


By Hope E. Tremblay

Special to The Republican

WESTFIELD – The City Council’s legislative and ordinance subcommittee Thursday took the first step toward repealing a local ordinance that unconstitutionally restricts where registered sex offenders may live or visit.

The motion to repeal the ordinance was made by Chairman Ralph J. Figy, who said a decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court indicates the ordinance goes against the state constitution.

First Assistant City Solicitor Shanna R. Reed said Westfield has not received any notification from the state regarding the ordinance, but other cities have.

“There was a case against the city of Lynn that had a similar ordinance,” Reed said. “A lot of communities have them.”

Reed wrote Westfield’s ordinance in 2011. Forty other communities in the state had similar ordinances at the time, she said. She said town bylaws must be reviewed by the state attorney general. “So even the attorney general thought it was OK,” she said.

The state’s Sex Offender Registry, created in 1999, requires comprehensive data about registered sex offenders. The SJC ruled that was all any community needed, Reed said.

“They said it’s enough and we can’t go beyond that,” she said.

Westfield’s sex offender ordinance exceeded the state laws simply by existing, said Reed.

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  1. New Person

    From the article:
    “It’s not a good choice, but it’s the only choice,” Onyski said.

    I really don’t like this line of thought. They’re saying that following the Constitution is the only choice, but they don’t like it. Isn’t that like getting rid of Jim Crow Laws, but they don’t like it?


    • Will Allen

      It is. These governments are nothing but harassing, criminal regimes.

      When they pass these “laws” and they don’t even bother to include people who have gone to these locations and SHOT people with guns, they are very clearly showing that their motivations have nothing to do with public safety or protecting children. Those are lies and the people who lie just to harass other people are disgusting people and un-Americans.

    • Dustin

      Don’t know that it’s really a “line of thought.” There are some that know the registry and associated restriction laws are exactly what we say they are, but unwilling to take action against them because it’s political suicide. Think it’s more like cover to avoid the “SO friendly” label.

      Compare to elections in Germany after WWII. The press, very anti-Nazi at that point, was baffled that no political candidate who advocated bringing all Nazis to justice were soundly beaten in every single election, regardless of office, when all public opinion (as they reported) and polls indicated landslide victories. A published letter to an editor in some newspaper pointed it out: 6 million dead Jews don’t vote. 5 million ex-Nazis do. Simple election mathematics.

      Politicians are bandwagon hoppers and copycats, more so than most other professions. Hopefully, those officials who are at least willing to discuss registry abolishment are watching this. If the blowback the Westfield city council officials get isn’t too bad, maybe then they’d be willing to bring up repealing their own SO laws. Not holding my breath, though.

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