20 Texas towns ease restrictions on sex offenders

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DALLAS, Texas –  A broad legal challenge has led more than 20 Texas towns to ease restrictions over the last few months on where sex offenders can live.

About 45 Texas towns received letters in November from the nonprofit group Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, demanding they repeal residency restrictions. It also has sued 14 towns and has a powerful ally, the state attorney general’s office.

At issue is how Texas’ small towns are differentiated from larger ones. Communities with fewer than 5,000 people are “general law” towns, which can’t adopt an ordinance that the Legislature hasn’t permitted.

Communities have recently learned their sex-offender laws have run afoul of state rules.

But the Texas Municipal League says state law allows local leaders to fashion municipal rules for peace and order.

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