Bill would keep track of dealers

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A bill that would force convicted methamphetamine dealers to register with law enforcement agencies after being released from prison was filed this week by Rep. David Sater.

Sater said he got the idea for the legislation from other states that have a similar law in place.

"It was very effective (in those states), similar to the sex offender registration laws," said Sater.

The bill would create an on-line registry that would include such information as the offender's name, date of birth and where the crime was committed. The registry would be maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and accessible to the general public.

"It's my reasoning that when you go to prison you're putting bad people together with bad people," said Sater. "Prison is not a rehabilitation place. People usually come out of prison and resort to their old behavior.

"This bill allows for transparency," said Sater. "It helps us keep on eye on former meth dealers. Peer pressure is still a powerful deterrent to behavior. They'll know they're being watched."

Registration would be required for Missouri residents who are convicted of specific drug crimes. Some of the qualifying crimes include distribution or manufacture of methamphetamine and selling the drug near schools or public housing. After seven years, the offender would be removed from the registry list.

House Bill 33 is co-sponsored by Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, and Rep. Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield. Costs associated with adoption of the new law are estimated at around $53,000.

"This is just a little bit of the puzzle that we can use to fight meth," said Sater.

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