State Sex Offender Registry In Trouble
It didn’t get a lot of attention earlier this year when a Federal Judge ruled that the 44 thousand or so Michigan sex offenders didn’t have to report their whereabouts to the state. The court also threw out some restrictions keeping sex offenders away from schools involving both working and residential accommodations. The Judge ruled the problem is there is no adequate system in place for sex offenders to keep in contact with state and local law enforcement agencies since many government employees were working from home due to the virus shutdown. And since they are at home, they don't have adequate access to their state or local records systems in order to track the sex offenders' locations. Other aspects of the court’s ruling focused on the legality of requiring sex offenders to regularly report to local and state law enforcement agencies.
Michigan state lawmakers are now rushing to get changes enacted in the related laws. They’ve been given a time limit in which to enact the changes by the court. One of the big issues is the Republican majority in both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives haven’t had much success working with the Governor on major issues like the virus shutdown, road repairs, and even the state budget. If state leaders can’t agree on changes that are acceptable to the court, the whole sex offender registry and control program goes out the window. That would include work and residency restrictions placed on sex offenders. Attorney General Dana Nessel is critical of initial drafts proposed by Republicans. And the clock is ticking.