Gov. Jay Nixon today joined local law enforcement officials at the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center in Farmington to discuss the importance of sustaining his veto of House Bill 301, which would remove hundreds of sex offenders from public sex offender websites. The Governor vetoed House Bill 301 in July citing concerns it would weaken public safety and victims' rights by weakening state laws regarding sexual offenders. Recently, leadership in the Missouri House of Representatives has expressed their desire to override the Governor's veto of House Bill 301.
"By erasing the names of hundreds of criminals from sex offender websites and law enforcement registries, without regard to the seriousness of their offense, House Bill 301 would weaken public safety and ignore victims' rights," Gov. Nixon said. "House Bill 301would also deny local prosecutors and victims of these atrocious crimes the opportunity to have their voices heard before an offender is removed. The leadership of the House may be ready to help violent sex offenders hide from the public and law enforcement, but their victims, and the millions of Missourians who use these websites to help keep their families safe, are not."
If the Governor's veto is overridden, House Bill 301 would remove an estimated 870 individuals who committed a sex offense as a juvenile (under 18) from the state and county sexual offender notification websites, and prevent any such individual from being placed on these websites in the future. This legislation would remove these juvenile sex offenders from the public notification websites regardless of the sexual offense for which they were convicted, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy, and child molestation.
Additionally, House Bill 301 would allow sex offenders who were convicted when they were juveniles 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 had multiple victims and multiple convictions, the court would be required to grant the petition so long as the offender was not currently under supervision or was adjudicated for failure to register and without being able to consider if the offender successfully completed any court required treatment. House Bill 301 would also prevent the victims of the crime or their families from having any input into the offender's removal from the registry.
"I do not believe that supporters of this legislation meant for its ramifications to go this far. That's why after a careful review of this legislation in its entirety, I clearly communicated my concerns to the legislature last month in my veto message," Gov. Nixon said. "Now that lawmakers have a full understanding of the seriousness of House Bill 301, they cannot in good conscience vote for it again. We owe it to the crime victims and their families to ensure this dangerous bill does not become law."