New law expands Michigan's public registry for sex offenders

Michigan's public registry for sex offenders is expanding after Governor Snyder signs a new law. The new law aims to also protect children from offenders currently exempt from public disclosure.

State police have a list of all sex offenders but the public can only see if tier two and tier three offenders live in their neighborhood. This new law, adds tier one to that list---that includes offenders who commit crimes like indecent exposure to a minor.

The public registry for sex offenders in Genesee County currently lists about 1,100 sex offenders. Under this new law, signed Tuesday, that list will grow.

â??I know, as a former sheriff, that it's very important that the public know if a sex offender lives in their neighborhood who has offended against a child,â?? says State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge)

The public registry currently lists tier two and tier three criminals---those are people convicted of crimes like criminal sexual conduct and child sexual abuse. The new law adds tier one criminals who are convicted of acts like exposing themselves to children.

â??Certainly, acts such as this should be open to the public so we can protect our children and grandchildren,â?? says Jones.

Michigan State Police say expanding the list may stop criminals from offending again.

â??We do have a build up of offenders. Sometimes it's their first sex offense other times they build up to greater crimes,â?? says Lt. Matt Bolger, who works at MSPâ??s Flint Post.

Another bill, working through the legislature, would also require sex offenders to pay a yearly registration fee. State police say that help lift a heavy financial burden.

â??Other states have an annual fee. Michigan has a one-time fee. An annual fee will help fund the registry,â?? says Bolger.

â??They can afford it, they got themselves into this exclusive club and now they need to pay their membership fee,â?? adds Jones.

That fee would be $50 a year. As for the expanded list, Senator Jones says at list 250 people will be added to the public registry statewide.