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Annual fee could become part of Michigan sex offender list

The Michigan Legislature has been busy this session with legislation targeting residents on the state's sex offender list. As we discussed in our Feb. 27 blog post, lawmakers have passed a bill to broaden the list to include people convicted of a range of sex crimes, including some relatively minor offenses. Now the Legislature is considering greatly increasing the financial penalty for being put on the list by the government in order to raise $700,000 per year.

Currently, people are required to pay a $50 fee upon registration onto the list. The bill, which originated in the state Senate, would change that one-time fee into an annual payment. The current system raises about $160,000 for the state, which goes to the maintenance of the registry. The Senate Fiscal Agency says that running the registry and keeping the database up to date costs about $1.2 million per year.

If people on the registry were required to pay $50 every year, the annual revenue could go up to about $700,000. The bill's sponsor says that taxpayers should not have to pay for the registry. Those on the registry are subject to public knowledge of their inclusion, limits on where they can live, random police checks and other penalties that last as long as they are included on the list, which can be indefinitely. It is not clear if there is a provision exempting people if they cannot afford to pay the annual fee.

The expansion of the offenses that will be eligible for inclusion on the registry was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on March 12.

Source: MLive, "Michigan sex offenders would face annual registry fee under proposal," Tim Martin, March 12, 2013

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