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St. Louis Enacts Business Law Aimed at Sex Offenders

ST. LOUIS - A new city law puts more restrictions on business owners who are sex offenders. It prohibits people convicted of committing a sex offense from opening a business that involves likely interaction with minors. It will apply only to new businesses applying for a license.

It is the first sex offender restriction law for businesses in the area. Other municipalities have laws prohibiting sex offenders from parks, schools and recreational centers.

Opponents claim the law is too broad and can be interpreted to apply to virtually any business.

Supporters say that private employers take precautions to keep sex offenders away from children and that the city is simply doing the same.

The law sprang from reaction to a pottery shop owned by Daniel T. Becker, a two-time convicted sex offender. Becker recently moved his store to a South St. Louis neighborhood, a couple of blocks from a high school. Neighborhood parents brought the issue to their alderman. It is not clear how or if the law will affect Becker's business since it applies only to new businesses.

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