A recent Associated Press article published in the Washington Post takes a look at a vote coming before Missouri lawmakers this week. The issue is whether or not to remove juvenile sex offenders from Missouri's sex offender registry.
Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill allowing the removal of some juvenile sex offenders saying it's too dangerous, but one couple with a son on that list is pushing for the removal. That couple, according to the Associated Press article, is also making political donations to some West County lawmakers, including State Rep. John Diehl (R-Town and Country) and State Rep. Tim Jones (R-Eureka).
In May, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that would strike juvenile offenders from public-notification websites and eventually allow their removal from the sex-offender lists, the article states.
The article goes on to say Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill earlier this summer, warning it could pose a threat to the public by hiding the locations of violent sex offenders, but Missouri lawmakers plan to consider overriding the veto Wednesday.
The report explains that Jon Rand and Sharie Keil have donated thousands of dollars to Missouri politicians and hired lobbyists as they work to pass the legislation that could remove hundreds of people convicted of sex crimes when they were juveniles from the state’s online sex offender registry. Their son is on that registry and is among those who would be removed if the legislation passed.
In the seven-weeks between the Legislature’s passage of the bill and Nixon’s veto, Rand, or his tobacco company, contributed $6,000 to House Majority Leader Diehl and $3,000 to Jones, according to the article.
Any additional contributions made after July 1 have not yet been reported, the article points out.
The Associated Press reported Jones did not respond to a phone message about the matter, but Diehl said he's been receiving contributions from Rand’s tobacco companies for years. According the article, Diehl said he never discussed the sex offender bill with the couple and was unaware they had a son who would benefit from it being passed. Diehl indicated he would likely vote to override the veto, the article added.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 72 people have successfully petitioned to be removed from the state's sex offender registry under a 2009 law, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
What do you think? Do you think juveniles with certain circumstances should be removed from the list, or do you support the Governor's veto of the bill? Tell us in the comments below.