State law currently requires sex offenders to pay a $75 registration fee at the time of their initial registration, and then annually thereafter. Although the state can waive this fee for individuals who are deemed indigent, a significant amount of the fees goes uncollected. A 2015 investigation by New England Cable News found that, between January 1, 2012 and June 11, 2015, the state collected less than half of the $2.3 million in registration fees it was owed.
The Caucus proposal (filed as amendment #496) calls for imposing additional sanctions against delinquent sex offenders. If a sex offender hasn’t paid the fee – or has paid only a portion of it – the Sex Offender Registry Board will be required to report them to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Revenue within 30 days. Once that happens, the sex offender will be unable to acquire or renew their driver’s license or motor vehicle registration until the fee is paid in full. In addition, DOR will be authorized to intercept the uncollected fee from any state tax refunds due to the sex offender.
The state needs to do a much better job collecting outstanding sex offender registration fees and making sure these fees are paid on time. The Caucus proposal will hold sex offenders accountable and ensure that they are in compliance with the law.