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The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted to move ahead with a new law that makes it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter county parks, beaches and harbors without permission from authorities.

Penalties for violators could be a maximum of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Supervisors asked District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to fix a draft of the proposed law to give the Sheriff’s Department the authority to decide which offenders are allowed in the county recreation areas.

The DA’s office initially suggested the county parks and harbors directors be designated to handle the requests from registered sex offenders, but supervisors said the Sheriff was better qualified for the job.

California law prohibits convicted sex offenders who are on parole or probation from parks and other areas, like school grounds, where children gather.

The proposed county ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Shawn Nelson, comes back to the board for final approval next month.

— TRACY WOOD

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