Requiring ex-sex offenders to continually pay a fee and other ex-felons do not have to is pretty much extortion.
By RINA MILLER
The more than 40,000 registered sex offenders in Michigan may soon be required to pay an annual fee.
They currently pay a one-time $50 charge, but most offenders will be on the registry for 25 years to life.
State Senator Rick Jones says the database costs Michigan State Police about $1 million a year to maintain. He's working on a bill that would require sex offenders to pay $50 or $100 a year.
- I don't buy this. How does adding records to or changing records in a database cost $1 million per year?
"I want to keep troopers on the road," Jones says. "This is not too much to ask sex offenders to pay a dollar or two dollars a week."
- When many of them are homeless and jobless due to the online registry and residency laws, then it's too much to ask.
Jones believes he'll get almost unanimous support for the bill.
"The only ones who object are the offenders," he says. "We hope that the sex offender list helps keep them out of trouble. We hope that it keeps children away from them and keeps them out of prison. Therefore, this is simply a fee that they will be paying for that service."
- So why don't you force all other ex-felons to pay some fee for your service?
"It's legal in many other states", Jones says. "It's working. It will work here."
Ohio and Illinois each charge registered sex offenders $100 per year; Indiana charges $50 annually.