House Speaker Rusty Bowers’ bill to allow some people to petition to stop registering as a sex offender is back on track after his counterpart in the Senate gave it a chance to pass a key legislative roadblock.
For several weeks, Senate President Karen Fann had kept House Bill 2613 from getting a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee, which she chairs. Fann, a Prescott Republican, held the bill after details became public about sex crimes charges that former Rep. David Stringer had faced in Maryland in the early 1980s, saying it had become “muddied with what happened over the last few weeks.”
Now, HB2613 moves to the full Senate after the Rules Committee gave it a green light on Monday.
“She had wanted to give some time on the bill, given the Stringer issue, and despite any reservations she may have, she wanted to honor the speaker’s request to move the bill at this time,” said Mike Philipsen, a spokesman for Fann.
Currently, most people who are required to register as sex offenders in Arizona are ineligible to ever be removed from that registry. Only people convicted of consensual sex with a minor who is at least 15 years old are eligible now, and only if they were under 22 years old at the time of the crime. HB2613 would make people convicted of a number of other sex crimes eligible to terminate their registration requirement.
Offenders would have to be at least 35 years old, have gone at least 10 years without another felony or sex crime, and meet several other criteria in order to be able to petition a court to end their registration under HB2613.