By Jonathan Oosting
LANSING - More sex offenders may soon be popping up on Michigan's online registry.
The state Senate today unanimously approved a bill that would expand the online registry to include certain additional crimes involving minors.
Lawmakers previously overhauled the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act in 2011 to come into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which required the state to separate sex offenders into three tiers and mandated specific reporting requirements for each.
Under current law, the Michigan State Police must post online registry data for all Tier II and Tier III offenders convicted of crimes such as rape or creation of child pornography.
Senate Bill 44 (PDF), now headed to the House for consideration, would also require the state to post data for Tier I offenders convicted of a single crime involving minors.
Specific offenses that would be added to the website include knowingly possessing child pornography, indecent exposure when the victim is a minor, unlawful imprisonment or restraint of a minor and surveillance of a minor who is undressed or wearing only undergarments in a situation where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
"It was brought to my attention that there are some people in Tier I who could be a danger to children," said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who sponsored the legislation. "Certainly somebody that has committed one of these acts and been convicted should be on the list so parents and grandparents can protect their children from somebody who happens to be in the area."
Jones introduced a similar bill last session. It too was approved by the state Senate, but it failed to see a vote in the House during a busy lame-duck session. Citing today's unanimous Senate vote, Jones said he expects his bill to reach the governor's desk this time around.