Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date of Defense

4-16-2014

Graduate Advisor

Michael C. Campbell, PhD

Committee

Michael Campbell, Ph.D.

Beth Huebner, Ph.D.

Kristin Carbon-Lopez, Ph.D.

Abstract

The Republican controlled Missouri General Assembly passed HB 301 in 2013 only to have it vetoed by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon. The bill would have eliminated certain juvenile offenders from the sex offender registry allowing for the removal of first time juvenile offenders. Questions: What are the general trends of sex offender laws and how does HB 301 fit with these trends? How do current political and sociological theories of policy creation explain the actions surrounding Missouri’s HB 301? Methods: This transcript used historical analysis of bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri newspaper articles, the political makeup of the Missouri General Assembly and governor’s office, and crime statistics from 1995 to 2013 Results: Analysis produced three essential themes in understanding the formation of sex offender laws: the concern over public safety, the perception of sex offenders, and the politics of lawmaking. Conclusion: The governor used public safety to defend his veto, while proponents of HB 301 used the perception of sex offenders to push for HB 301. The politics of the parties involved add another dimension to the understanding of HB 301.

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