Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Missouri may opt out of federal sex offender registry

Changes to Missouri's sex offender registry law could cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding, reported the Columbia Missourian.

According to the Department of Justice, Missouri could lose 10 percent of its federal funding under the Justice Department Adam Walsh Act if the General Assembly passes House Bill 301.

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Engler, R.-Ste. Genevieve, would remove the names of juvenile sex offenders from the public website and allow qualifying offenders to have their names deleted from the registry. Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed the bill, saying that it poses a public safety risk because it doesn't differentiate between violent and nonviolent offenders. 

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has said that he and his colleagues will attempt to override the governor's veto when legislators reconvene in September.

Rep. Dave Hinson, R.-St. Clair, who voted for the bill in May, said he was not going to let the loss of federal funds sway his vote and that any loss in federal funding would be made up by the state.

"I think this is good policy over what the federal policy does," he said. "That is why only 16 states are compliant with the law."

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