Veto on Missouri Bill to Relax Sex Crime Laws Upheld
House Bill 301 has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in Missouri over the past several weeks. The bill proposed significant changes to the state's current policy regarding convicted sex offenders and the Missouri sex offender registry. Under HB 301, those who were convicted of a sex crime requiring sex offender registration while under the age of 18 would be eligible to have their public information removed from the registry. Other offenders convicted of sex crimes as juveniles would also be eligible, depending on the situation. You can read more about HB 301 on one of our previous blog.
While the debate regarding the terms of HB 301 may be far from over, its battle in the legislator is. On September 1, Missouri legislators agreed to sustain Governor Jay Nixon's veto of the bill. As noted by Nixon, HB 301 could potentially have had a large and potentially negative impact not only on public safety, but also the state's budget.
If passed, HB 301 could have potentially resulted in more than 800 convicted sex offenders being removed from the public sex offender registry. The argument voiced by supporters was that such harsh social stigmas and public sex offender registration were severe punishments and that those who were convicted of sex crimes as minors deserved a second chance. HB 301 would have been their chance to have their name, photo, and address removed from public law enforcement websites.Governor Nixon's rebuttal to this argument was that it simply created too much of a risk to public safety.
Perhaps the largest impact HB 301 would have had, however, was financial. The Missouri Department of Public Safety receives an annual subsidy from the U.S. federal government to aid the state's criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Annual funds exceed $5 million a year. If HB 301 were to pass, Missouri risked taking a cut to this subsidy because the state would have been in violation of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Harsh Consequences for Sex Offenders in Missouri
Whatever the case may be, the veto on HB 301 was upheld. For those who currently stand accused of sex crimes in Missouri, this veto highlights a few things. First, leniency and tolerance in relation to sex crimes are hard to come by; these offenses are among the most stigmatized and harshly viewed. Second, the state of Missouri's tough policy on convicted sex offenders will remain in place. This means that those who are convicted of a registerable sex crime face severe, life-altering consequences.
Such a tough stance on keeping harsh Missouri sex crime laws in place should prompt anyone who stands accused of a sex crime into understanding that the need for experienced legal representation is of the utmost importance.
At The Hammer Law Firm, LLC, our St. Louis sex crime lawyers know full-well that clients facing sex crime allegations often have every aspect of their life on the line. Knowing this, we work tirelessly to provide the support, step-by-step guidance, and aggressive representation they need to protect their freedom and future.
If you or your loved one currently stands accused of a sex offense, do not delay in contacting a Missouri sex crime lawyer from our firm as soon as possible. Request your free case evaluation to discuss your case.