Missouri May Ease Sex Offender Registry Rules

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - The Missouri House approved and sent to the state Senate bill that would drastically cut the state's sex offender registry list.
     The law would eliminate sex-offender registry for certain crimes, such as promoting obscenity, and would create a way for offenders to come off the list early based on the severity of offense, which would be 10 years for most offenses and 20 years for more extreme offenses.
     Anyone wishing to be removed from the registry would have to petition the prosecuting attorney in the county of conviction, would have to prove they have met all of the requirements and have not had any new offenses.
     The bill received nearly unanimous support in the state House this week and is headed to the state Senate.
     Missouri has more than 12,000 people on sex offender its registry.
     One study estimated that the new law would cut as many as 5,000 from the list in the first year and 1,000 each year afterward.
     Supporters say the registry has gone too far and is no longer effective. Cutting names would help those people re-assimilate into society and would make it easier for them to find jobs. They say the more dangerous offenders are more likely to commit additional related crimes within that 10- to 20-year period.
     Opponents say the looser restrictions could make Missouri a haven for sexual predators seeking to escape registries in other states.