Meth offender registry proposed in House.

Friday, December 5, 2008 | 5:10 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — A southwest Missouri lawmaker wants to make it easier for people to know whether they live near a methamphetamine maker or dealer.

Legislation filed this week, ahead of the start of the 2009 session, would create an online registry for certain meth-related drug convictions that would be modeled after the state's existing sex offender list. The measure, filed by Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, is similar to a bill he filed in 2008.

The 2009 session doesn't begin until Jan. 7, but lawmakers could begin filing legislation Monday. Submitting a bill early means it will begin moving through the legislative process on the first day but does not necessarily mean it has a greater chance of passing. Through Friday, senators had prefiled more than 100 bills, and four proposed constitutional amendments; House members had prefiled 70 bills.

The meth registration requirements would apply to any Missourian found guilty after Aug. 28 of a variety of drug crimes, including trafficking, distributing, delivering or producing meth, selling it within 2,000 feet of a school or 1,000 feet of public housing, and knowingly allowing a minor to buy or transport meth.

Those on the meth offender list would be removed seven years after the conviction or guilty plea.

Several states have considered legislation that would create online registries of meth offenders and Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota and Montana already keep lists.

Missouri's meth offender list would be posted on the Internet and maintained by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which also maintains the list of more than 7,200 registered sex offenders. But unlike the sex offender registry, individual profiles on the meth offender list would not be updated regularly and wouldn't necessarily include a picture of the offender.

Highway Patrol spokesman Capt. Tim Hull said Friday that would make the meth list less labor intensive than running the sex offender registry.

For Sater's 2008 bill, the Highway Patrol estimated that it would cost about $53,000 to create and $1,400 per year to maintain. Last year's legislation was never considered by a House committee.

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