Bill would bar sex offenders from university housing

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | 7:46 p.m. CST; updated 10:56 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Registered sex offenders would be blocked from public university housing under a measure presented to the House Crime Prevention Committee on Tuesday.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sam Page, D-St. Louis County, was the only person to testify on the bill before the committee.

“The proposal was not triggered by any specific instance,” Page told the committee. “It’s a common-sense bill.”

Page told the committee the measure is modeled after a similar one in Illinois.

Under the measure, a public university would be required to perform a check of the state’s sex offender registry for each housing applicant. The school would be prohibited from providing housing to any person found on the list.

In addition to public universities, the measure also would cover community junior colleges.

The director of residential life for MU, Frankie Minor, said that in anticipation of the bill’s passage the university is using this semester as a test to estimate necessary logistics.

Minor said they have begun checking every current resident’s name against the Missouri registration list of sex offenders.

Page acknowledged there would be a cost to the bill but that it would be minimal. “One university indicated that they currently do this for $252 for 2,500 applications.”

“Would it be time-intensive? Yes. Expensive? No,” said Eric Grospitch, director of residential life at the Kansas City campus of the University of Missouri.

The bill, as it is currently drafted, would require checking an applicant only against Missouri’s registration list, not other states’.

No one testified against the bill. The committee took no immediate action.

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