Sex offender fee change is an idea whose time has come

Beginning April 1, registered sex offenders in Michigan will be required to pay an annual fee. Last year, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation requiring the state’s more than 40,000 registered sex offenders to come with a $50 per year registration fee.

The fee, which is applicable to registered sex offenders who are out of prison is not meant as an additional punishment to those who’ve already paid their societal debt, as much as it is intended to help defray the $600,000 a year cost to the Michigan State Police who run the sex offender database and website.

The new law, sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones, replaces the current system which provided a one-time $50 fee, in favor of the annual assessment. As in the past provisions will be made for those who cannot pay the annual fee.

This certainly makes sense to us. If, in the name of safety and security it is necessary to keep offenders on the database indefinitely, then it surely seems fair they should shoulder that financial burden than taxpayers.

It is an equalizer whose time has come.