2021 Bills

SB 215: Reforming Sex Offender Registry Requirements

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

Living with a criminal record is a permanent roadblock to long-term success. It creates a scarlet letter on every job, housing, and loan application an individual applies for. A criminal registry, such as the sex offender registry list, is a public list that comes up online every time a registered person’s name is searched – this is far worse for individuals trying to make it in society.

The sex offender registry list exists to warn the public about individuals who committed offenses that the legislature deems as especially egregious. But does it actually make communities safer? Some argue the list does far more bad than good and is far worse than an actual conviction because of the dramatic impact it can have on an individual’s life. While there’s no discussion of ending the list, there is a bill to allow certain individuals to be removed from it.

Senator Jake Anderegg is sponsoring Senate Bill 215 in order to reform the sex offender registry list to allow individuals who have been added to the registry due to a technical violation to petition to be removed after they have proven they are no longer a risk to society, have paid their court debt, complied with court rules, and have waited the legislatively required amount of time. Utah has data-driven tools to properly vet the risk of individuals and will only approve petitions for those they deem as no longer a risk to the safety of society.

The bill also allows directs the state to remove an individual’s name if the case has been reversed, vacated, or pardoned.

Libertas Institute supports this legislation because it rewards good behavior and incentivizes individuals to act in accordance with the court so they can someday get off the list and live a normal life.