Concern over sexual offenders has moved to the forefront in St. Mary's County, with several legislative proposals offered by residents to make the community more aware of sexual offenders and keep them away from children.

One proposal would require anyone convicted of a sexual offense against a minor to be listed on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. Another would prohibit sex offenders from living near schools and day-care services.

In a discussion last week about legislative proposals for 2006, the St. Mary's County commissioners offered unanimous support for several of the proposals about sex offenders, though stricter laws would require the approval of the General Assembly.

The commissioners endorsed the concept of prohibiting sex offenders within a certain distance from schools and day-care facilities and requirements that offenders be listed on the state registry.

They also supported a proposal that would decrease the number of days a month that inmates serving time for a sex offense against a minor could deduct from their term of confinement for good behavior. A bill before the General Assembly last year would have decreased these "good time credits" from 10 days per month to five, but it did not pass, said Deputy County Attorney Heidi E. Dudderar.

"Does this mean, if this passes, the individual will stay in jail longer?" asked County Commissioner Daniel H. Raley (D-Great Mills).

When told that it would, all five commissioners offered their support.

Some of the proposals from county residents to toughen regulation of sex offenders were presented to the commissioners at an Oct. 6 forum.