Northam vetoes bills related to sex offenders in shelters

Northam vetoes bills related to sex offenders in shelters
Gov. Ralph Northam outlined a package of proposed funding increases for schools that includes an additional 2 percent raise for teachers. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Dec. 11, 2018)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed legislation that would allow officials to temporarily block convicted sex offenders from using emergency shelters.

Northam said Tuesday it is "unconscionable" that people could be turned away from shelters during hurricanes, flash floods or other emergencies.

The legislation would have allowed shelter officials to deny entrance for convicted sex offenders for however long was "necessary to ensure the safety of other individuals" admitted to the shelter.

The legislation would have also required convicted sex offenders to declare they are registered offenders after arriving at an emergency shelter.

Northam said he’s directing state officials and encouraging local officials to formulate plans about how best to shelter “all members of our communities” during emergencies.