Legislation that would make more people eligible to have their names removed from Arizona’s sex offender registry may end up being an inadvertent casualty of the recent revelations of decades-old sex crime allegations that led David Stringer to resign from the Arizona House of Representatives.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, sponsored House Bill 2613, which he crafted with assistance from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The bill would expand the list of crimes for which sex offenders could petition to be removed from the registry, while imposing new restrictions on people who seek removal.
With a narrow scope and support from tough-on-crime Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, HB2613 was working its way through the legislative process at a steady clip, despite an at times hostile response from criminal justice reform advocates who believe it does little to nothing to help people rid themselves of the lifetime obligation to register as sex offenders.
But the Stringer situation led Senate President Karen Fann to put the brakes on the bill. Fann, R-Prescott, ordered the bill removed from the April 1 agenda of the Senate Rules Committee, which she chairs. The bill was nowhere to be found on April 8 agenda, either.
Fann said it didn’t sit well with her to advance the bill so soon after details emerged about sex crimes charges that Stringer faced in 1983 in Maryland.
“I do know that there’s good reasons behind this bill. Unfortunately, it’s just being muddied with what happened over the last few weeks,” Fann told the Mirror.