The state Senate is looking at a bill sponsored by Sen. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, that would modify Missouri’s sex offender registry. Certain tier one offenders who are convicted of abusing kids would be moved to a tier three, classified as the most severe sex crimes, and would be on the list for life.

“This is a change in the sexual offender registry language in our state statutes moving some tier one offenders into tier three, specifically around abusing kids and the several provisions in there that were moved to tier three offenders as it relates to impacting children,” he said.

No one testified in favor of Fitzwater’s bill.

Vicki Henry, President of the Missouri Alliance for Family Restoration, argued that the offenders who have already been convicted have paid their debt to society.

“Anything less and you’ll have more blood on your hands from suicides and murders,” she said. “That’s a fact because they’re just giving up. They don’t feel like there’s ever any life after that, after being put on that registry. I heard somebody say earlier, here in the capitol, that once you’re on the registry, you’re on the registry. That shouldn’t be the way it is.”

Fitzwater argued that the bill is designed to enhance safety and accountability.

Eric Diehl disagreed. He said his son is currently on the sex offender registry. He argued that there is no advantage to “forcing a law-abiding citizen to face homelessness and unemployment.”

“This is forcing some families to move away from where they presently live, which harms not just the person who is forced to register but the family that supporting them as well,” he said. “Everyone should be given an opportunity at a path to be removed from the registry if they demonstrate a positive change.”

The bill could be voted out of committee soon.

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