Nursing homes would have to report sex offenders under proposed law

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - A proposed law would require nursing homes in South Carolina to notify residents and loved ones if a registered sex offender moves in.

As part of a Live 5 News investigation in February, 2012, we learned there is no state law forcing nursing home operators to tell residents or their guardians if a sex offender is living there.

Three members of the House of Representatives have filed a bill to change the law when it comes to reporting sex offenders in nursing homes.

"It is absolutely a safety issue," Berkeley County Representative Joseph Jefferson said Monday. Jefferson is one of the bill's co-sponsors.

"We put these fellows in facilities without realizing the impact that they may bring harm to others who are not totally aware of their habits," Jefferson said.

Under the legislation, the operators of nursing homes would be required to notify other residents and legal guardians within 24 hours, in writing, that a registered sex offender is moving in.

The operators also would have to reveal the offenders name to residents.

"It is their duty, their obligation to make sure that everyone is aware that we are getting ready to bring in a sex offender, so they can avoid this person at all costs, at all times," Jefferson said.

Right now, the bill is stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. Jefferson said it may be too late for it to become law before the legislative session ends in June.

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