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Nixon Sharply Denounces Bill That Would Allow Some Sex Offenders Off The Registry

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Updated 8-21-13 4:01 p.m.

In St. Louis Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon sharply criticized a bill he vetoed that would allow juvenile sexual offenders to be removed from the sex offender registry. The Democratic Governor said overriding his veto would undermine public safety and weaken victims' rights.

He stood next to a gallery of mugshots and distributed information on several individuals who could be removed from the website if the bill passes.

“Look at the ages of the victims," Nixon said. "Look at the severity of their crimes. Look at the number of times they've terrorized children. Tell me you wouldn’t want to know if the guy you’re looking at moved next door or applied to a job at your child’s school.”

The bill could remove 870 individuals from the sex offender website.

Republican House Speaker Tim Jones told The Associated Press this week that the bill is "ripe for override." On Wednesday, Nixon took umbrage to the statement.

"I would have thought that after reading that well-reasoned veto message on an issue such as this, that this would have transcended the light political talk of the day," Nixon said, visibly frustrated. "And terms such as 'ripe for override' as if this was some sort of contest as if someone was keeping a scoreboard? I thought this language and the tone was disrespectful, and that raises my ire."

Some Republicans, like Rep. Dave Hinson (St. Clair) said the youths deserve a second chance.

Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
Nixon spoke next to mugshots of sexual offenders that would be removed from the website if the bill becomes law.

“What we are trying to do is say, you know, these are juveniles," Hinson said. "Shouldn’t we give juveniles a second chance if they have not re-offended via a sexual assault?”

Hinson said several initial supporters have questioned him about the bill following Nixon's criticism.

"Whenever the governor raises his concerns, that puts a whole new light on it, especially when you're working with a veto," Hinson said.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel