Jay Nixon Fights to Sustain Veto of Sex Offender Law
ST. LOUIS- Gov. Jay Nixon met with local law enforcement and victims' advocates on Wednesday to restate the importance of maintaining his veto of House Bill 301. The bill would have removed hundreds of sex offenders from public sex offender websites.
Nixon vetoed the bill in July because of concerns that it would weaken state laws against sex offenders.
"In removing an estimated 560 offenders from sexual offender websites, House Bill 301 makes no distinction between those who have committed extremely serious or violent crimes and those who committed lesser offenses. In addition to undermining the important public safety functions provided by the sexual offender registry and public notification websites, the bill also would have deprived victims of sex offenses the opportunity to be heard before an offender is removed," said Gov. Nixon.
House Bill 301 would have prevented any individual who committed a sex offense under the age of 18 from being placed on either the state or county sexual offender notification website. Over 500 sex offenders who are currently on the websites would have been removed immediately. Victims and their families would not have been allowed to argue against the offender's removal from the registry. This legislation would have eliminated juvenile sex offenders from the websites regardless of the sexual offense for which they were convicted, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and child molestation.
Convicted sex offenders would have been allowed to petition a court for their removal from the state sexual offender registry after only five years from being found guilty or completing their prison sentence. Even if the offender has multiple convictions, the courts would be required to grant the petitions.
"I do not believe that supporters of this legislation meant for its ramifications to go this far. That's why after a very thorough and careful review of this legislation in its entirety, I communicated my concerns in my veto message to the legislature last month. As legislators return for the annual veto session this September, I ask that they protect public safety and defend crime victims by sustaining my veto of House Bill 301. We owe it to the crime victims and their families to ensure this dangerous bill does not become law," said Gov. Nixon.