Legislation passed by the Michigan Senate in Lansing would require registered sex offenders to pay an annual fee to help maintain the state's sex offender registry.
Senate Bill 221's sponsor, state Sen. Rick Jones, said it is ready for the governor's signature.
"These are people who committed crimes," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "I do not believe that the hardworking taxpayers in Michigan should foot the bill for a registry of crimes they did not commit."
In a news release on Thursday, Jones cited other states such as Indiana, which charges $50 per year for a similar registry, and Illinois and Ohio, which charge $100 per year.
Currently, Jones stated the cost of maintaining the Sex Offender Registry database in Michigan is funded through a one-time $50 registration fee for offenders, even though the majority of offenders register for 25 years to life.
Jones stated in the release that during the past five years, the money collected from this one-time fee is less than 10 percent of the cost of maintaining the registry. Jones noted that as a result, law enforcement must divert taxpayer dollars that should be spent on putting more police officers on the streets.
"Sex offenders can afford to pay a dollar or two per week to pay for the list," Jones said. "Taxpayers should not have to be burdened with this cost. The offenders should support this list as they do in neighboring states."
Stay with WNEM.com and TV5 as we continue to follow this story.
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