In the case of many policy issues, Michigan's Legislature acts like the United States Congress in the way of responding to a problem brought forth by the media and the citizens, as opposed to promoting legislation unprovoked. A prime example of this occurrence was the 1994 kidnapping of Jacob Wettering. His news story led to national attention and the creation of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act of 1994. Other acts to protect children and punish sex offenders quickly followed. Some of these included most notably Megan's and Jessica's Law. Michigan followed suit by passing similar laws aimed to punish sex offenders and required them to register with their residential information within the state. Michigan's 1994 PA 295, entitled "Sex offenders registration act" did precisely what its name implies, this piece of legislation was brought to the top of the agenda as a response to provide an increase in neighborhood security.. On May 13, 2010 the ninety-fifth legislature regular session saw the introduction of Michigan Senate Bill 1337. This bill looked to amend the 1994 PA 295, "Sex offender's registration act." Specifically, this bill sought to adjust the process of criminal procedure, including sex offender registration rules. The majority of changes proposed the 1994 bill centered on the fees assessed during the registration process. The original legislation from 1994 contained a single $35.00 registration for new offenders to be placed on the sex offender registry for life (this applied to Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III offenders). The revisions to this bill repealed the one time registration rule. This did not remove the fee, but allowed the offender to be fined every time the person relocated and changed their address. The new SB 1337, introduced by Senators Kahn and Bishop, subject the offender to multiple fees of $25.00 every time they relocate and are required to re-register with the local police department regardless if their crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. The bill also details how the money from new registrations will be allocated (court fees, the state, police departments, and the general fund for prevention of crimes against children).
This bill has the potential of passing because many support additional punishment of sex offenders across party lines. People are largely for this type of punishment and the restitution paid by the sex offenders. This money, however small, is invested back into the state and can be appealing with Michigan's current budget woes. These new fees could pose a problem for those having to pay because once on the sex offender registry the criminal tends to encounter difficulty finding employment, making multiple fees more strenuous. Michigan's stance on sex offenders has mirrored the national attitude surrounding the subject, and was brought to light in the middle of tragedy. As a result of extensive coverage, and nation-wide outcry people demanded action, this resulted in the immediate creation of policy at the national and state level.