Enforcement of Bus Stop Rule Halted in Bulloch County

15th August, 2006
SCHR Press Release

ATLANTA , GEORGIA, August 15, 2006 –  Today, Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson agreed to halt enforcement of the school bus stop provision of HB 1059, Georgia’s Sex Offender legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2006. Yesterday, attorneys from the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia asked the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Bulloch County Sheriff from illegally evicting people from their homes for living too close to a school bus stop.

“"We are grateful that Bulloch County Sheriff has agreed to enjoin enforcement of the statute until the Court rules on its constitutionality." states Sarah Geraghty, lead counsel from SCHR.  

The School Board of Bulloch County, Georgia voted last Thursday evening to designate approximately 1,700 bus stops throughout the county.  Prior to the school board meeting, in anticipation of such a decision, Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn M. Anderson sent written notice to all registered sex offenders informing them that bus stops would be designated on August 10 and that the bus stop provision would be subsequently enforced.   This enforcement will mean the immediate forced eviction or arrest of at least 30 people on the sex offender registry in Bulloch County.

"Enforcement of this provision would have meant forcible eviction for an 83 year old blind man and another man who has been rendered disabled by 15 heart attacks," said Sarah Geraghty.  "Neither of these men is a threat to anyone, yet the law makes no exemptions or exceptions for them."

Bulloch County was the second county in Georgia to officially designate the school bus stops. Last month, Columbia County designated bus stops and began enforcing the law, but U. S. District Judge Clarence Cooper issued an order banning Columbia County deputies from enforcing the law.

Testimony from law enforcement, treatment providers, and the state's own expert at a July 11 hearing established that residency restrictions such as the 1000 foot bus stop restriction makes the public less safe by destabilizing people on the registry and forcing them underground.    There is nothing within HB 1059 that provides for exceptions to forcible displacement of people who are elderly or infirmed or who were convicted as teenagers for having consensual sex with other teenagers.

Click here for the Brief.
The original complaint can be viewed here.