Before I wrecked my life and ended up on Florida’s Sex Offender registry I always intended to travel in my retirement. Now, after prison and probation, I am in fact retired, and “free,” and have not given up my dream of seeing natural wonders and historic sites, visiting great cities, traveling to as many places as possible within the restrictions placed on me as a registered citizen.

While I may attempt traveling the world in the future, everything I’ve heard and read about International Megan’s Law requirements makes it sound difficult and even dangerous for a registered person. I therefore decided that my own home country is a pretty big place that, so far at least, nobody can keep my out of. Including all of its states and territories the United States spans half the globe and extends from the arctic to the equator. A guy could spend his whole retirement traveling this great land and never really see all of it.

As many of you may have discovered, however, interstate travel as a registered citizen isn’t as simple as getting in your car and driving away. Unless you don’t mind the prospect of inadvertently violating the registry laws of either your own state or whatever state you’re in at the time and ending up back in prison for a registry violation, it’s crucial to be conversant with and obey the registry laws of every state you plan to pass thru, which for me is every US state and territory.

For the year leading up to the end of my probation in October 2020 I made it my business to research and account for all these laws. Florida law doesn’t allow a registered offender on probation to use the internet, and part of my “risk reduction plan” worked out with my state-sponsored shrink is to never have home internet service or a cell phone data plan even after completing probation. Thus you may be surprised to learn that I got permission from both my shrink and my PO to use local library computers to conduct this research.[1]

The starting point for my research was the chart “Summary of State and Territorial Registration Laws Concerning Visiting and Temporary Residence by Adults” available on the Association for Constitutional Sex Offender Laws (ACSOL) website. It’s a good summary chart, but it hadn’t been updated since 2018. Using the state statute references in the ACSOL chart I downloaded every state and territory’s registry laws, read them all, updated the information on the chart and corrected any errors that I found.

On the Florida Action Committee (FAC) website resource page you will find “State Contacts and Registration Requirements for Visiting Persons Required to Register as Sex Offenders.” It contains responses to a letter they sent to the SOR offices of all 50 states (but not territories) asking a series of questions about state laws affecting visiting registrants. About 20 states responded to that letter, and some of those responses actually contain helpful information.

I also obtained a list of phone numbers for all 50 states’ SOR offices, and called every state to ask supplemental questions. As you might expect SOR offices don’t answer the phone and never call back if you leave repeated messages. Some states SOR offices have outgoing messages that don’t allow you to leave a message but only refer you to unhelpful online FAQ documents. A few states’ outgoing messages say their SOR offices are closed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, I found that when I was able to speak to a real person (which was about half the time) the SOR office personnel were uniformly courteous and willing to provide helpful answers to my questions.

The result of my research is the new and improved Summary of State and Territorial Registration Laws Concerning Visiting and Temporary Residence by Adults” chart. CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW. My plan is to keep re-researching and updating this chart for at least the next ten years (i.e. 2021-2031) while I travel the USA.

However, all of this research – whether the state laws themselves, written responses to letters, or the oral responses by a random person in a state SOR office – may bear no relation at all to what you or I may experience if pulled over by an over-eager redneck sheriff’s deputy because you have a blown tail light. Do you want to be the first person to test the limits of any of this? I’ll bet the answer to that is NO.

So be careful out there, and safe travels!


[1] Florida law doesn’t prohibit registrants on probation from going to a public library - although there are plenty of probation officers who don't allow it. Every state has its own rules, however – e.g. Iowa, where no registrant can go to a public library whether on probation or not.


Legal Disclaimer

I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY. THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR QUALIFIED LEGAL ADVICE.

Because sex offender laws are frequently revised by legislatures and reviewed by courts, the most current version of the applicable laws should be consulted and can generally be found by using your search engine to locate the statutes referenced on this site. This website does not include all laws that may apply to registrants in any particular state.


State & Territorial Visitor Registration Laws Guide

Click HERE. It'll pop up on your screen.

Summary Map Click HERE. Then look in your downloads folder.


NEW! State & Territorial Visitor Registration Laws for FORMER & LONG-TERM Registrants

MANY REGISTRANTS DO NOT UNDERSTAND that most states have registration laws that apply to out-of-state visitors even if you have served your registration duty in your state of offense and are no longer required to register there. Violating these states' laws during your visit can get you caught in these states' registries or even incarcerated EVEN THOUGH you have been removed from your own state's registry!

Furthermore, you may be surprised to learn that some states' registration laws may not apply to visiting registrants who have, in your state of offense, served your registration duty for the number of years specified by law in the state you are visiting - even if you are still on the registry in your state of offense.

Because confusion surrounding this issue will be a growing problem as more and more Americans (including myself) become long-term or former registrants, I have researched the registration laws of every U.S. state and territory related to this issue.

Click HERE to see this new research.


The Traveling Registrant

The Once Fallen website offers this must-read information for all registrants planning to travel. Click here: http://www.oncefallen.com/travel.html

Unwelcome Images

My personal story of prison, probation and ... redemption? is posted on Medium. If you're interested you can click here:

https://therabbitisin.com/unwelcome-images-c06a3760b11a

Your first hurdle:

Permission to leave town

My state of offense (Florida) has a registry law that, like those of many other states, is completely silent on the question of what notice I as a registered person have to provide in the event that I intend to travel out of state temporarily but have no intention of establishing any “permanent residence,” “temporary residence” or “transient residence” in any other state. Instead, Florida’s SOR law reads as follows:

“A sexual offender who intends to establish a permanent, temporary, or transient residence in another state or jurisdiction other than the State of Florida shall report in person to the sheriff of the county of current residence within 48 hours before the date he or she intends to leave this state to establish residence in another state or jurisdiction … The sexual offender shall provide to the sheriff the address, municipality, county, [and] state … of intended residence … The department shall notify the statewide law enforcement agency, or a comparable agency, in the intended state [or] jurisdiction … of the sexual offender’s intended residence. The failure of a sexual offender to provide his or her intended place of residence is punishable as [a third degree felony].”

943.0435(7) FS.

Apparently, the drafters of Florida’s SOR law – and the many similarly worded statutes of other US states – never anticipated that a registered person would ever leave their state for any other reason than to establish a “permanent residence,” “temporary residence” or “transient residence” wherever their going. Therefore I assume that I and many of you could legitimately assume we would be within our legal rights to just leave our state without telling anybody as long as you have no intention of, and scrupulously avoid, establishing any kind of residence that would violate your state’s statutes.

However, I DO NOT recommend doing this under any circumstances.

Why? Because there’s a 100% chance that your local sheriff’s department believes you have to tell them you’re leaving and where you’re going no matter what your state’s SOR law says or doesn’t say. Suppose you get pulled over somewhere for having a blown tail light. The sheriff’s deputy looks you up and discovers you’re an out-of-state registered offender. Next, he calls local law enforcement in your home state and asks, “Hey, did y’all know this guy was here?” They of course will say “No, we didn’t even know he left our state and we think that’s a registry violation – he is an ABSCONDER!” at which point you’ll be arrested, handcuffed and sent back to prison.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to spend my vacation.

Therefore I strongly suggest that you visit your local sheriff’s department or registry office and inform them of your intention to travel. I did this for the first time in October 2020, and have traveled out of state frequently since then, each time making sure to do so “within 48 hours before the date he or she intends to leave this state.”

Having gained some experience with traveling while registered I offer you the following advice:

Always notify your local law enforcement of your intention to travel and provide as much detail as possible about your travel plans. In particular, it helps to have at least one specific destination for your trip. Your local law enforcement is expecting you to have a destination. You probably do have at least one destination, and if it’s not a friend or relative’s home you probably had to make some kind of reservation ahead of time. Either way you know at least one address where you’ll be, so give it to the staff person behind the glass. They will feel more comfortable with this even if your plans include extended time to get to and return from the specific destination(s), during which you’ll be enjoying yourself.

I have found that if I give a general description of your travel, like some of the states you’ll be passing through, the staff person will happily enter that onto whatever form their filling out as “additional notes.” This may actually help you in case you get pulled over someplace because when the sheriff’s deputy calls your home state it’s all right there in the computer.

Recently I established a summer home in Iowa. Unlike Florida and many other states, Iowa’s registry law explicitly, but clumsily, addresses out-of-state travel. It says:

“[A] sex offender, within five business days of a change, shall also appear in person to notify the sheriff of the county of principal residence [i.e. the principle residence in Iowa], of any location in which the offender is staying when away from the principal residence of the offender for more than five days, by identifying the location and the period of time the offender is staying in such location.” 692A.105 IS.

While I was at my new Iowa sheriff’s department registering, getting photographed, fingerprinted and providing a DNA sample, I took the opportunity to ask how travel was going to work in my new state. I pointed out that although I can always provide a destination when traveling, there is no way I’ll be able provide locations and addresses ahead of time for every campground or motel room I might be staying at along the way.

The lady behind the bullet-proof glass stated that their policy for this type of travel is that I will need to keep a travel log for each trip, which I will need to turn in upon my return. This just shows how local sheriff’s departments come up with some policy to deal with these situations. As you know from reading elsewhere on this blog, I recommend you always keep a travel log as well as all receipts just in case you need to prove your whereabouts, so this sheriff’s department requirement, while ridiculous, turns out not to be a problem for me or anyone following my recommendations.

Monday, August 30, 2021

 Minnesota

From the 50 state visitor guide :

Minn. Stat. 2019 §243.166

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

5 days for initial registration and updates.

Visitors: Presence in state for more than 14 days or 30 days per calendar year triggers obligation to register. §243.166(1b). Registrants without a primary address register within 24 hours of entering new jurisdiction, & provide updates in-person weekly.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

None. Only Level 3 offenders are placed on the public website. (per NARSOL Digest, June 2018, p.7)

Duration & updates:

10 yrs – life.  Updates annually (weekly for those without permanent residence). §243.166.

 

USBank Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis, with adjacent light rail train stop

Most recent visit: August 2021

For registered visitors, Minnesota is one of the easier states to get along with. Fourteen consecutive days should be enough for most visits. If for some reason you do end up on the state’s registry, only Level 3 offenders are placed on the public website. Be careful, however, because Minnesota is one of five U.S. states whose out-of-state Tier 1 (or equivalent) registration requirement ends at a specified number of years after release from prison, or at the number of years required by the offender’s state of offense – whichever is longer. So if you are thinking how to escape from your own state’s harsh registration requirements, don’t think about this state.

In August 2021 I decided to take Minnesota up on its relative hospitality, at least as it applies to visitors.  Entering from Wisconsin at Duluth, it stopped at the I-35 Welcome Center to pick up brochures including one bragging about Duluth’s downtown waterfront park district. Unfortunately I soon discovered that at this moment nearly all of Downtown Duluth is completely ripped up with construction, including not just the I-35 / US 2 interchange, not just most of the main streets for some kind of underground utility and streetscape reconstruction, but also a major downtown hospital expansion that has closed most of the surrounding streets. After an hour of trying I couldn’t figure out how to even get to the waterfront park, never mind find a place to park.  I had to give up!

My intension was to go as far north as U.S. registry law allows, which means right at the Canadian border.  My first destination was Voyageurs National Park, which turns out to be mainly a boating and fishing paradise. There are no campgrounds in the park, and apparently people take their boats out to camp at one of the hundreds of islands in Kabetogama Lake. I’m not a boater! **Sigh** However, I camped overnight at a nearby state forest campground.

The next morning I decided I simply couldn’t go this far north without stopping in International Falls and walking right up to the border crossing – so I did! Then turning southwest I traveled through remote wilderness and two Indian reservations before ending my day at Charles Lindbergh State Park (yup – turns out he grew up in Minnesota).  Hot showers – Yey! 

The following day I toured Minneapolis, which was not ripped up.  Overnight at another state park. My final day in Minnesota I stopped at Mystery Cave, enjoyed the one hour tour, then headed home to Iowa.

 

Missouri – with corrections

From the 50 state visitor guide :

R.S. Mo. 2019.  R.S. Mo. §43.650.  R.S. Mo. §566.147 through 566.150.  R.S. Mo. §§589.400 through 589.426.  AWA Compliant .

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

3 days for initial registration and updates. 

"Residence" is defined as “any place where an offender sleeps for seven or more consecutive or nonconsecutive days or nights within a twelve-month period” §589.404(5). Updated & corrected 8/21.

Visitors: “Any registered offender from another state who has a temporary residence in this state and resides more than seven days in a twelve-month period shall register for the duration of such person's temporary residency” §589.400.11. However, “temporary residence” is not defined. Updated & corrected 8/21.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

Residence restriction:  offenders may not reside w/in 1,000 ft. of school or child care center.  §566.147.

Presence restriction: offenders cannot be present w/in 500 ft. of school, day care center, park, or pool.  §§566.147-566.150.

Missouri applies Halloween restrictions to all registrants, including sign posting mandate. §589.426.

Duration & updates:

15 years to life. Updates: Tier III – 90 days. Tier I & II – every 6 mo. §589.400

Twain House, Hannibal

Most recent visit: July 2021

Missouri is a beautiful state, but you’ll have to be pretty darned careful if you travel there.  Visitors must register if in the state for more than 7 days in a 12-month period. §589.400.11.  That makes this state precisely twice as restrictive as Indiana, which allows visitors 7 days in any six month period.  However Missouri defines “residence” as a place where you sleep.  So presumably, like Illinois, if you can drive through with ever stopping to sleep that partial day won’t count against your annual total – but if you do stop to sleep the partial days on both sides of that restful night will count and you will have chewed up two of your 7 day total.

Worse, Missouri imposes several onerous restrictions that you should assume will apply to you as a visitor: 

·        Offenders may not reside w/in 1,000 ft. of school or child care center.  §566.147.  Since I am from Florida, where similar restrictions apply, I can tell you 1000 feet can be a pretty hard standard to meet.  Be careful in selecting your motel room.

·        Missouri applies Halloween restrictions to all registrants, including a sign posting mandate. §589.426.  So just don’t be there on Halloween.

·        Offenders cannot be present w/in 500 ft. of school, day care center, park, or swimming pool.  §§566.147-150.  You may want to think twice, for example, about a motel with a pool.  You may say, oh please! It’s just one night and who’s going to check?  But my job here is to warn you about any potential problems you may face while traveling.

Missouri’s restriction against being present at or within 500 feet of a park is especially problematic for vacationers.  Every state or local park is OUT.  For all these reasons I have to give Missouri a travel rating of 4 thumb screws.

However, when it comes to national parks you’re probably okay because quite frankly there are few if any national “parks.”  Yes, St. Louis’s Gateway Arch is definitely a park.  However, what about Ozark National Scenic Riverway?  Is that a park, and if so who’s jurisdiction is it in?  Mark Twain National Forest, which is extensive and includes many Ozark attractions, is definitely not a park.  And speaking of Mark Twain, his Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal is a privately owned attraction, not a park.

In the past 12 months I have slept in Missouri twice, both times at the same motel while traveling north toward my new summer home in Iowa.  Therefore I assume I have used up four of my allotted seven days.  However, since my first overnight there was in October 2020, two months from the time of this update two of those four days will be returned to me.

Now that I have a summer home in Iowa and a winter home in Florida I will be traveling back and forth several times per year, and one of the best routes for this long two day trip is south through Missouri.  However the half-way point for this route is not in Missouri but rather at Memphis.  Therefore I will be safely passing though without sleeping and can hoard my 7 days per 12 months for when I want to spend more time in this beautiful state.

 

Illinois

From the 50 state visitor guide :

2019  20 I.L.C.S. §4026/15  45 I.L.C.S. §§20/1 through 20/2  720 I.L.C.S. 5/Art. 11  730 I.L.C.S. §5/3-3-11.5  730 I.L.C.S. §§150/1 through 152/999  20 Ill. Adm. Code §§1280 through 1282.30

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

3 days for initial registration and updates.  “Residence” is any place at which one resides for 3 or more days in a year.  FAQ states that visitors are required to register if they spend “more than 3 days in a calendar year” in the state. However, per Adams County sheriff dept. (Quincy) Nov. 2020, it’s the 4th day that triggers registration.  Students and employees present for 5 or more days or for an aggregate of 30 days in a calendar year must register.  Transient registrants must report weekly.  730 I.L.C.S. §150/3

Per Rolfe Survey, visiting Registrants are placed on state’s website.  Per Adams County sheriff dept. (Quincy) Oct. 2020, procedure is available for removal from registry after departure.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

Residence restriction: “Child sex offender” may not reside w/in 500 ft. of school, park, playground, or facility where minors gather.  §730 I.L.C.S. §150/8.

Presence restriction: May not knowingly be present in “any public park.” “Public park” defined as any state or local park or “forest reserve”, but doesn’t mention national parks or forests.  May not loiter w/in 500 ft. of school facilities or be present in school facilities unless a parent present for specific reasons. 720 I.L.C.S. 5/Art. 11.

Duration & updates:

10 yrs to lifetime.  SO moving to state: lifetime.  SVP must update quarterly. All other annually.  §730 I.L.C.S. §150/5-10.

Most recent visit: June 2021

 

Lincoln's Home National Historic Site

Illinois has among the most onerous restrictions of any state, applying both to its own registered citizens and to visiting registrants. No “Child sex offender” may reside within 500 feet of any school, park, playground, or facility where minors gather.  §730 I.L.C.S. §150/8.  No registrant of any kind may knowingly be present in “any public park,” nor loiter within 500 ft. of school facilities or be present in school facilities unless you are a parent present for specific reasons. 720 I.L.C.S. 5/Art. 11. “Public park” is defined as “any state or local park or forest reserve.”  Therefore no registrant, whether resident or visitor, can visit Chicago’s famed Millennium Park or any museums or displays therein.

 

No bean for you!

However, state law doesn’t mention historic sites, national parks or forests, of which Illinois has many.  Therefore you can presumably visit Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site in Springfield, or sight-see in Chicago as long as you don’t loiter near a school.  You can also go camping and hiking in Shawnee National Forest.  If you plan to visit any of these places, however, you’d better make it quick because Illinois allows you only three aggregate days in-state per calendar year before you will be required to register.  And while an Illinois resident’s duration of registration for a Tier 1 offense is “only” 10 years, it’s lifetime for all out of state offenders no matter the offense.

My first visit to Illinois in October 2020 was strictly a recognizance mission.  I sneaked in across the Mississippi River from Missouri to visit the Adams County Sheriff’s Department in Quincy, IL to get answers to questions not addressed in state law or in their on-line FAQ document.  Questions I hadn’t been able to get answers to because the Illinois SOR office doesn’t answer the phone.

The lady behind the bullet proof glass referred me to “the sheriff’s deputy who handles all the SO’s.”  I wanted to know:

·        As a visiting SO, do partial days count toward my precious three aggregate days per calendar year?  Answer: Yes – but only if you stay at least one night.  “So if I stay overnight tonight and leave tomorrow that’s two days, but if I get in my car and go back to Missouri before the end of today, this partial day won’t count?”  “Yes that’s right.”

·        If I have only three aggregate days per calendar year, does that third day trigger my registration requirement?  Or does the requirement only trigger if I stay a fourth day?  Answer – Fourth day.  That’s actually a glimmer of good news, because some states don’t even cut you that much slack.

·        If I find myself in a position where I am required to register in your state, is there a procedure for removal after I return to my home state?  Considering that it’s lifetime registry for all out of state offences, I consider this to be a crucial question.  Answer – Yes (good news!) but they don’t make it easy.  You will of course have to notify the local Illinois sheriff that you’re “moving out of state” (presumably back to your actual home state).  They put you in “moving status” and notify the state you are “moving to” that you’re coming.  You must arrive within three days, and your home sheriff’s department must notify Illinois of your arrival.  Illinois puts you in “inactive status,” takes you off their website and according to this Adams County sheriff’s deputy you don’t show up as an Illinois registrant if you get pulled over for a blown taillight in Montana.  However, they keep you in their file system in case you have the insolence to return some day and stay for more than three days.

With these answers in hand I got in my car and sneaked back to Missouri before the end of the afternoon, thereby not using up even one of my precious three aggregate days for calendar year 2020 in Illinois.

My second trip to Illinois came about a week later when I was passing through on my way from Iowa to New Jersey.  I could have dawdled that time and seen a few sights, but I was in kind of a hurry to get to my brother’s house in NJ so, like the week before, I hardly stopped except to buy gas and snacks.  I was in and out in a few hours, mostly on I-70, so again I didn’t use up even one of my precious three aggregate days for calendar year 2020.

Now that I have a summer home in Iowa and a winter home in Florida I will be traveling back and forth several times per year, and one of the best routes for this long two day trip is east and south through Illinois.  However the half-way point for this route is not in Illinois but rather at Nashville.  Therefore if I choose this route I will be safely passing though Illinois without staying overnight.

In June 2021 I was again passing through Illinois, this time not on my way to Florida but on my way to Mammoth Cave.  From Iowa my car’s GPS told me the quickest route was to go east on I-70 through Illinois and Indiana, hanging a right at Indianapolis and heading south to Kentucky.  But here again, I had no intention of topping except for gasoline, so I still have three precious days in Illinois in 2021 if I want them.

 Tennessee

From the 50 state visitor guide:

Tenn. Code Ann. 2019  §§40-39-201 through 40-39-306

AWA Compliant

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

48 hours for initial reg. and updates, but “within 48 hours” is defined to not include weekends and holidays.  §40-39-202(32). 

Visitors must register “within 48 hours” of entering state. Per Tenn. SOR office, the 48 hour clock starts upon crossing the state line but will be interrupted from midnight to midnight on weekends and holidays. Also, per SOR office there is no limit on number of repeat visits per week, month or year.

“Primary residence” established after 5 consecutive days. “Secondary residence” means any residence for 14 or more aggregate days in a calendar year, or 4 or more days in a month.  “Residence” means physical presence. §§40-39-202, 40-39-203.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

Residence & Employment Restriction:  1,000 ft. from school, day care center, child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or athletic field, or the offender’s victim or victim’s family. §40-39-211.  In 2019 TN applied new restrictions to residence with any minor; these restrictions are under a Temporary

Restraining Order pending trial (see NARSOL Digest 8/19 p. 5).

Residence restriction:  Violent offenders and those with convictions against minors may not reside in on-campus housing of any institution of higher education.

Presence restriction: 1,000 ft. from school, day care center, child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or athletic field, with exceptions. §40-39-211.  Tennessee libraries have authority to restrict access by Registrants.  §40-39-216.

Per Tenn. SOR office, these restrictions don’t apply to visitors during the 48 hour grace period.  Supposedly.

Duration & updates:

Life.  Petition to remove – 10 years from end of probation.  §163A.125.

Violent offenders update quarterly; all others annually.  §40-39-207

 

Graceland - As far as I know it's not a public park, so you can go there.

Most recent visit: June-July 2021

Tennessee is a very tough state if you get caught up in their registry.  As noted above, they have a long list of residency, employment and presence restrictions.  If you do end up on their registry it’s lifetime, although you can petition to be removed starting ten years from the end of your probation.  I don’t know about you, but when they say you can petition, I hear they can turn you down.  I don’t like that.

According to the SOR office, a procedure is available for removal from registry after departure, but it’s cumbersome & time consuming.  Once you’ve returned to your home state, you write or email them providing documentation that you’re back home and why you shouldn’t be on their registry – and supposedly they’ll take you off.  But the nice lady at the SOR office pointed out that your request for removal has to go through their attorney - - which sounds to me like a place where your request can get indefinitely delayed or turned down.  Better to avoid getting on in the first place!

Forty-eight hours is a very short time period to be allowed in any state.  Per the Tennessee SOR office, the 48 hour clock starts upon crossing the state line but will be interrupted from midnight to midnight on weekends and holidays.  So pay attention to your time, keep receipts to prove your whereabouts if you get pulled over, and if you plan to linger long enough to visit the Smokies, Dollywood, Opryland or Graceland, my advice would be to arrive on a Friday and leave on a Monday – or Tuesday if your weekend includes a holiday.  Be careful of local sheriffs & police departments!

However, per the Tennessee SOR office there is no limit on number of repeat visits per week, month or year. Supposedly you could hop in & out of Tennessee, overnighting in surrounding states having much longer visitor periods, e.g. Kentucky, North Carolina or Georgia.  Of course in doing that you’d have to keep track of your days or partial days in those surrounding states too.  Then cross back into Tennessee and start the 48-hour clock all over again.  Supposedly.

Also, regarding all those onerous residency, employment and presence restrictions, I have called the SOR office twice and gotten two different answers.  In 2020 they told me these restrictions don’t apply to visitors during the 48 hour grace period.  Since that sounded a little too good to be true I called back again in 2021 and this time the man who I talked to said yeah, actually they DO apply.  No schools, state or local public parks, playgrounds, recreation centers or athletic fields for you, registered visitor!  And you’d better stay 1000 feet away from them too!

Therefore my advice is to be extra careful if your travel plans take you to Tennessee.

Having said all that, Tennessee is a state I frequently have to pass through on my way to somewhere else because it’s long from east to west and stands in my way between Florida and many other destinations including Iowa.  In fact my trip between my summer and winter homes is a long two day drive wherein the midpoint where I have to spend a night is always in Tennessee, where I cannot stay over at a state park campground.  Because of this I am currently scoping out the major truck stops along interstate highways to find out which ones (if any) allow overnight parking.

On my 2021 Upper Midwest road trip I started from the Florida panhandle, came up through Alabama and made it all the way across Tennessee before stopping for the night just over the line in Kentucky near Mammoth Cave, where I wanted to be the next morning.  The worst of Tennessee was going through Nashville in evening rush hour traffic.  For a while I feared I might use up my entire 48 hour grace period just doing that!

On my return trip, of course, I had to pass through Tennessee again, this time starting from Mammoth Cave in the afternoon and hitting Nashville’s rush hour traffic again.  Then as I was cruising down I-24 toward Chattanooga I came to a major traffic accident where the highway was backed up seemingly forever!  I had to stop for the night but as best I could tell from a quick look around, the cheap motels at the exit I was able to get to were far from anything that might get me in trouble.  Still, I got up early the next morning and was on my way.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

 Iowa

From the 50 state visitor guide :

Iowa Code 2019  §§692A.101 through 692A.130.  441 I.A.C. §103.3(692A)  661 I.A.C. §§83.1(692A) through 83.5 (692A)

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

5 business days for initial registration, updates, and visitors who enter the state. §§692A.104, 692A.105.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

Residence restrictions: Registrants with convictions involving minors for “aggravated sexual abuse” in the 1st or 2nd degree, or in the 3rd degree except for a conviction under I.C. §709.4(2)(c)(4), may not reside w/in 2,000 ft. of daycare center.

Presence restriction:  Registrants with convictions involving minors may not loiter within 300 ft. of, or be present at, any school, day care center, public library, or any place intended primarily for the use of minors, unless certain permissions are obtained.  No registrant may loiter, volunteer, or be employed at residence facility for dependent adults.

Local governments are pre-empted from adopting more restrictive requirements.  §692A.127.

Procedure for removal from registry after departure is set forth in §692A.106.

Duration & updates:

10 years to life.  Updates depend on tier level: TI – annually, TII – every 6 mo. TIII – quarterly. §§692A.104



My summer home and second state of registry

Iowa allows five business days for initial registration, updates, and visitors who enter the state. That’s a fairly short time period. However, there appears to be no limit per month or year.

While in-state as a visitor you may need to be a little careful if your offense involved a minor because if so you may not loiter w/in 300 ft. of, or be present at a school, day care center, public library, or any place intended primarily for the use of minors, unless certain permissions are obtained.  No registrant may loiter, volunteer, or be employed at residence facility for dependent adults.

Here’s a piece of good news: Local governments are pre-empted from adopting more restrictive requirements.  §692A.127.  Therefore, wherever you go in Iowa at least you know what the rules are.

Also, you may have noticed that there is no prohibition against being at or loitering near a public park, museum, or historic site – unless of course it includes a “place intended primarily for the use of minors,” like a playground, in which case you just need to stay 300 feet away from that place. Outside Iowa City there is a shopping mall that includes the Iowa Children’s Museum.  The food court is right next door.  If you ever find yourself in this shopping mall, you can’t go to the children’s museum or loiter within 300 feet of it, but the rest of the mall is okay.

On my first visit in October 2020 I stayed at state park campgrounds during my four business days and one partial weekend day in Iowa ($11 per night for out-of-state residents).  None of them included any place intended primarily for the use of minors, so I was completely off the hook.

On my February & March 2021visits I flew into Eastern Iowa Regional Airport and stayed each time at a motel from Thursday afternoon thru the following Tuesday morning.  That makes four business days (including two partial days) and a weekend each time, deliberately less than Iowa’s registration trigger of five business days.

I had a specific purpose for visiting Iowa that cold winter.  I had decided that Iowa was a good location to establish a summer home to serve as a base for my future summer travel.  Florida, after all, isn’t at all centrally located with respect to cross-country travel – but Iowa is.  And yes, I did purchase a home in Iowa, and have registered it as my new Primary Residence in Florida’s registry. 

That means my Iowa home will be my residence for more than 50% of each calendar year.  However I will still be wintering in Florida, so I changed all three of my registered addresses in Florida to “Temporary Residences” which means I can stay there any time I want as long as I report to the local sheriff’s department within 48 hours of my arrival.

As far as my cross-country travel is concerned, my move just transfers the problem of getting permission to leave town to my new local sheriff’s department in Iowa.  And in the case of Iowa this introduces a new complication because unlike Florida and many other states, Iowa’s registry law explicitly, but clumsily, addresses out-of-state travel.  It says:

“[A] sex offender, within five business days of a change, shall also appear in person to notify the sheriff of the county of principal residence [i.e. the principle residence in Iowa], of any location in which the offender is staying when away from the principal residence of the offender for more than five days, by identifying the location and the period of time the offender is staying in such location.”  692A.105  IS.

While I was at my new Iowa sheriff’s department registering, getting photographed, fingerprinted and providing a DNA sample, I took the opportunity to ask how travel was going to work.  I pointed out that although I can always provide a destination when traveling, there is no way I’ll be able provide locations and addresses ahead of time for every campground or motel room I might be staying at along the way. 

The lady behind the bullet-proof glass stated that their policy for this type of travel is that I will need to keep a travel log for each trip, which I will need to turn in upon my return.  As you know from reading elsewhere on this blog, I recommend you always keep a travel log as well as all receipts just in case you need to prove your whereabouts, so this sheriff’s department requirement, while ridiculous, turns out not to be a problem for me or anyone following my recommendations.

One more thing: A close reading of the Iowa statute above reveals that I only have to report my travel “when away from [my] principal residence … for more than five days.”  That means that as an Iowa registrant I can go anywhere I want to without having to report it as long as I return within five days (calendar days, not business days).  Florida law doesn’t allow anything close to this, and I plan to take full advantage of my new found relative freedom with a series of five day mini road trips.

However, I will still follow my own advice by keeping a travel log and keeping receipts to document my movements.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

 Wisconsin

Leinenkugel Beer Factory, Chippewa Falls

From the 50 state visitor guide :

Wis. Stat. 2019  §§301.45 through 301.50

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

10 days for initial registration, after entering state, and for updates.  Employment defined as a period exceeding 14 days or 30 days in a calendar year. §301.45(3).

Per Wisconsin SOR response letter (2019), the 10 day period also applies to visitors.  No mention of any limit per month or year.

Per Wisconsin SOR response letter (2019), a procedure is available for removal from registry after departure.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

Registrants must provide notice before going on school grounds.  § 301.475.

Duration & updates:

15 years to life.  Verification: SVPs – 90 days; others annually. §301.45(4).

 

Wisconsin cheese

Most recent visits: June & August 2021

For registered visitors, Wisconsin is one of the easier states to get along with. Ten consecutive days should be enough for most visits. Per Wisconsin SOR’s response to a Florida Action Committee (FAC) letter (2019), there may be no limit per month or year. However, to be safe, visitors should assume the 30 day per year limit that applies to employment in the state will also apply to visitors.

In June 2021 I decided to take Wisconsin up on its relative hospitality.  Entering from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I stayed overnight at a National Forest campground and spent the next two days seeing the sights.  At a welcome center I picked up a map of every cheese store in Wisconsin, showing which ones are located right on the farm where you can buy the fresh cheese curds that squeak in your mouth. 

In addition to eating lots of cheese, I came upon a small town “Party on the Pavement” and had street food for lunch.  I toured Milwaukee’s lakefront and Historic Third Ward, and of course I’m a sucker for cave tours – this time it was Cave of the Mounds after staying overnight at Blue Mound State Park (nice park, clean campgrounds, hot showers).

Continuing southwest, I ended up at Prairie du Chien where I tried to visit Villa Louis State Historic Site but found it still closed on account of the COVID 19 pandemic.  However, this was an opportunity to rest and have lunch at a picnic table overlooking the Mighty Mississippi River before crossing over into Iowa. 

In August 2021 I was taking a five day mini road trip to northern Minnesota but decided to swing through western Wisconsin on my way up to Duluth.  Entering at Prairie du Chein where I had left on my previous trip I headed north along the Mississippi River Scenic Highway – and yes it was scenic.  Then veered off to my intended stop on my way through Wisconsin, the Leinenkugel Beer factory in Chippewa Falls where I took the one hour factory tour.

Then continuing as far north as I could get before nightfall I camped at Amnicon Falls State Park, which is quite beautiful but unfortunately has no showers! Oh well – it was on to Minnesota!

Friday, July 16, 2021

 Michigan

Point Betsie Lighthouse, MI

From the 50 state visitor guide :

M.C.L. 2019 §§28.721 through 28.736, as modified by HB 5679 effective 2021

Registration Triggers and Deadlines:

Initial registration and updates are required “not more than 3 days,” (HB 5679).  A “residence” is defined as “that place at which a person habitually sleeps, keeps his or her personal effects, and has a regular place of lodging.”  §28.722(p).  Also, “An individual required to be registered under this act who is not a resident of this state but has his or her place of employment in this state shall report” not more than 3 days. §28.725(2). 

Visitors: Michigan law does not address registration by visitors. The requirement to report any place “[t]he individual intends to temporarily reside at … other than his or her residence for more than 7 days” applies only to “[a]n individual required to be registered under this act who is a resident of this state” §28.725(1). However, visitors should assume at a minimum that this 7 day rule will apply to you.

Residency/Presence and Other Restrictions:

1000 foot residency and loitering restrictions were repealed by HB 5679.

Those required to register after 7-01-2011 must report all email addresses & internet identifiers (defined in HB 5679).

Duration & updates:

15 years to life. Updates: T1 – annual; T2 – 6 mo; T3 – 3 mo. §28.725.

 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI

Most recent visit: June 2021

Michigan has been much in the news on the major registrant advocacy web sites such as NARSOL and ACSOL, because of a lawsuit challenging this state’s registry has been going on for almost a decade.  In August 2016, the United State Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that various components of Michigan’s registration scheme could not be applied retroactively to individuals convicted before 2006 and 2011.  See Doe, et al. v. Snyder, et al., 834 F.3d 696 (6th Cir. 2016), cert. denied 138 S. Ct. 55 (2017).  In 2021 the state legislature adopted HR 5679 which purports to resolve the issues raised in this court ruling.  More legal challenges are likely.

Reading the news stories about this legal activity, you would be forgiven for concluding that Michigan has some of the harshest, most inhumane registry laws in the United States.  However, that would be a mistaken conclusion.  In fact there are quite a few states, including my home state of Florida, whose registry laws are much harsher and egregious than those of Michigan.  But let me be clear – I am NOT arguing that Michigan’s registry isn’t harsh or inhumane.  ALL registries are harsh and inhumane, and if the Sixth Circuit can rule that various components of Michigan’s registration scheme are unconstitutional, it just shows that many other states’ laws are similarly unconstitutional.

Having gotten that off my chest, the fact remains that compared to many other states, Michigan’s laws applying to visiting registrants aren’t too hard to comply with.  Like many states, Michigan’s laws regarding what constitutes “residency” are so muddled that it’s hard to say how long a visiting registrant can actually stay in Michigan before registration is required. 

To be on the safe side I am recommending that you follow a seven consecutive day rule that appears elsewhere in the state’s SOR law.  Seven days is a short time period but not terrible. There also appears to be no limit on repeat visits per year, so in theory you could leave the state for one night after Day 6 (because you must assume that Day 7 would trigger registration) making sure to document that night with out-of-state receipts, and return to Michigan the next day to continue your visit.  The state’s former 1000 foot residency and loitering restrictions were repealed in 2021 by HB 5679. 

Per Rolfe Survey, visiting registrants who do have to register are placed on state’s website. Whether there is a procedure available for removal from registry after departure is unclear, so I would take no chances on the possibility of being required to register.

I had traveled through Michigan years ago, before I flushed my life down the toilet for the sake of a few internet jollies, so I knew it was a state with a lot to offer visitors.  In June 2021 I entered from Indiana and traveled northward up the lower peninsula’s west side.  I stopped at Grand Rapids, which turns out to be a very pleasant town with an active downtown.  I visited a museum there and watched part of a skateboarding competition.

I stayed overnight at a Lake Michigan front state park with nice facilities, which was no problem because, as I said above, all the residency and loitering restrictions have been repealed. Continuing north into the Upper Peninsula, I stayed the next night at a Hiawatha National Forest campground which was completely empty. 

I visited Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – both very nice! – before heading southwest toward my next destination, Wisconsin. Michigan is a beautiful state.

  Minnesota From the 50 state visitor guide : Minn. Stat. 2019 §243.166 Registration Triggers and Deadlines: 5 days for initial reg...