Legislation in the 2012 session that would have made significant changes to the state’s sex offender registry won broad and overwhelming support in the House, but was blocked in the Senate. Lawmakers in both parties now say they’ll support the issue again in 2013.
The proposal would have removed some people guilty of minor offenses from the registry altogether, and established a tiered system by which those convicted of more serious crimes could apply to be removed from it with a judge’s approval.
The bill never went to a hearing in the Senate. Attempts to amend it to other legislation also failed.
Democrat Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) says he will bring it back up next year. “I hope that we’ll be able to make progress on that both in terms of fairness to some of the people that are on there charged with very minor offenses and in terms of saving the state a lot of money.”
Kelly says being on the registry makes it hard for people to get jobs and earn a living.
“There’s everything on the list, you’ve got to remember, from people how are charged with sex trafficking to the 17-year-old kid and the 15-year-old kid … it’s wrong for those kids to have sex, but it’s not a sex crime and they don’t need to be on the register for the rest of their lives.”
House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) agrees, the bill will be back next year. “I think it may have been one person who had a problem with that in the Senate, and so I definitely view that coming up (again). Another good criminal justice reform.”
This year the bill was carried by Representative Rodney Schad (R-Versailles), who will not be back in the House next session due to term limits.