COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — State lawmakers continue their work to make changes to the state’s sex offender registry laws.
Last year, the state Supreme Court ordered South Carolina’s lifelong registry was unconstitutional. Lawmakers have until June to create a way for offenders who are at low-risk to re-offend to petition to be removed from the registry.
On Wednesday, a panel of lawmakers got some insight from prosecutors on the best ways to implement these changes. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said, “You’re trying to wrestle with the most efficient way to get people to roll off. You didn’t ask for this – this is something the court told you to do.”
Right now, the only way for someone to be removed from the registry is their offense is overturned, reversed or vacated on appeal.
Eleventh Judicial Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee preparing for these petitions will take some time. “There’s going to be a massive impact on us. It’s basically like our folks preparing for cold cases. Many of these files are gone. The transcripts are gone. They go away after five years,” he said.
Solicitor Hubbard and Attorney General Wilson said lawmakers would need to send some additional funding if they passed a bill to implement a way for offenders to petition.
General Wilson said, “We’re going to need to have additional victim advocates, additional investigators, prosecutors. This is going to be spread out amongst SLED, the Prosecution Commission, solicitor’s offices, the AG’s Office.”
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee advanced an amended version of the bill Wednesday.