JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — It may soon be easier for some sex offenders to get off the Missouri sex offender registry, as the Missouri House gave initial approval to a bill that would trim back what some representatives say is the state’s over-reaching sex offender registry laws.
On Tuesday, the measure – House Bill 1700 – received nearly unanimous bi-partisan support. The legislation would eliminate mandatory sex offender registration for offenses like promoting obscenity and furnishing pornographic materials, and would create a way for sex offenders to come off the list based on the severity of their offenses.
Missouri currently has over 12,000 people on their sex offender registry rolls. According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the proposed legislation could cut as many as 5,000 people from the rolls in the first year, and as many as 1,000 a year afterwards.
The legislation would allow sex offenders to petition the court to remove their names from the registry after 10 years for most offenses, and 20 years for more serious offenses like forcible rape or child molestation.
The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, says that so many people – most non-threats to society – have been added to the registry over the years that it’s come to a point where it means almost nothing to the public.
“The public has become numb to the registry,” Schad told the Post-Dispatch.
The measure will now move on to the Missouri Senate for their approval before moving on to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk for his approval.