State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, said there may be another bill filed next year to make changes to the sex offender registry after a bill he was pushing got vetoed this year.
Under the bill that was vetoed, sex offenders who commit their crimes as juveniles would not have been put on public notification websites. Those already on the websites would have been immediately removed as long as they had not violated terms of sentencing or committed any other type of sex crime, Hinson said.
The vetoed bill would have also allowed sex offenders who commit their crimes as juveniles to petition the court to be removed from a separate law enforcement registry after five years of being found guilty or being released from custody.
There was expected to be an effort to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto last week. But Hinson said he asked the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, to withdraw the bill from the veto session because there appeared to be a lack of votes in the Senate to override the veto.
Hinson said he thinks there were enough votes in the House, but he did not want to put members of his caucus in a position of voting for a bill that could possibly lead to political ramifications if there was not a chance to get it passed in the Senate anyway.
Hinson said the goal is to give people who commit sex crimes as children a second chance in life so they can get jobs and be productive citizens. He noted that convicted sex offenders have high unemployment rates and this bill could give them a chance to get off public welfare and get jobs.
Child advocacy groups supported the bill, according to Hinson.
In his veto letter, Nixon stated that the bill would have reduced public safety and failed to protect victims’ rights. It would have required the removal of about 560 sex offenders currently listed on state and county sex offender websites, the governor’s letter adds.
Hinson said he has had several conversations with the governor’s office regarding the registry becoming too big and cumbersome.
He added that the governor’s office has pledged to work with him in trying to get a bill that will be good for Missouri.