The Michigan Senate will soon discuss a bill that would require sex offenders to pay an annual fee to help with the costs of running the sex offender registry website.
According to a Detroit Free Press article, registered sex offenders are already required to pay a $50 fee the first time they are added to the list.
However, lawmakers want to charge them $50 every year to cover the $600,000 cost it takes to run the database. The state said the bill could create about $540,000 additional revenue each year.
Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley said there would be exceptions for some of the offenders when it comes to paying the yearly fee.
“I think there would be a percentage of the offenders who would not pay and would face misdemeanor charges,” Yeagley said. “But, in some cases, law enforcement would track them down.”
Yeagley sees why the fee would be necessary.
“With the economic state of Michigan and all of us, it seems to me if someone has to pay, why can’t it be the ones who caused the situation?” Yeagley said. “The offender has this program to get out of jail more quickly, so, in my mind, it makes sense to increase the costs.”
According to the Michigan Sexual Offender Registry, there are 188 offenders in Isabella County not in jail.
Unless the bill is passed, the majority of the expenses would be covered through taxes, Yeagley said.
“The way it is done currently, it would lie on the taxpayers,” he said. “For me, I think it’s worth taking a hard look at.”
Mount Pleasant Public Information Officer Jeff Thompson said he does not see this bill having a direct impact on Mount Pleasant.
“I cannot foresee any impact on the community regardless of the bill passing,” Thompson said. “The involvement of MPPD in the SOR is to ensure that offenders are within legal compliance of the law and to take enforcement action if it is not being followed. The enforcement is to ensure that our community continues to be a safe environment.”
Yeagley also could not see a change occurring for citizens if the bill were to pass.
“I don’t think the average person in our community would notice,” Yeagley said. “There would be no change in day-to-day activities, and people would not be impacted at all.”
The police have always noticed the red tape it takes to pass a bill, and the same thing applies here, Yeagley said.
“When it comes to passing legislation, for me, it is very unpredictable,” Yeagley said. “Although, it might get addressed sooner because of the economic status the government is in.”