“Some offenses don’t rise to the level” of needing registration, Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, said recently.
He’s filed a bill, HB190, that would give certain first-time sex offenders the ability to petition the courts to shorter their registration periods, or to have their registration completely waived . The vast majority of sex offenders in Texas must register on the state’s Department of Public Safety website for life.
The bill is being hailed by Mary Sue Molnar, the mother of a convicted sex offender who is one of Texas Voices key organizers. “I have to tip my hat to him,” Molnar said of Alonzo. “It’s a very good start.”
Molnar and her group have spent months meeting with lawmakers in an effort to find someone willing to carry a bill that would roll back some of the state’s toughest sex offender laws.
The group never met with Alonzo. Alonzo said he filed his bill at the request of a Dallas judge who was fed up with low-risk offenders brought in on technical violations tying up the court’s docket.
Good on Rep. Alonzo for taking this up. I still don’t see any such legislation having a chance of making it out of the Lege, but at least now the issue will be debated. If there is to be any hope, I’d say this is the right approach, pointing out how much money and effort is spent on people who aren’t dangerous. It’s still going to be a tough sell, but it’s got to be done. Good luck, Rep. Alonzo.