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Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that will close a loophole in sex offender rules.
The law will ban convicted sex offenders from playgrounds of recreation areas in private buildings. That means offenders will not be able to set foot in play areas like those found in McDonalds restaurants.
The House Elections Committee held a hearing on the measure Tuesday. Republican Rep. Tim Remole, of Excello, is sponsoring the legislation. He says it will protect voting rights for registered offenders while also protecting children in schools that are designated as polling places.
No one testified in opposition to the proposal, but the Missouri Association of County Clerks says it would cost money to turn local election offices into polling places on election day.
If offenders can't make it to the clerk's office on the election day, they would be required to cast an absentee ballot.
Right now, prosecutions must start within 30 years after the victim's 18th birthday. The statute of limitations already does not apply to instances of forcible rape or forcible sodomy, attempted forcible rape or attempted forcible sodomy and kidnapping. The measure would allow prosecutions for child abuse at any time.
The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee approved the legislation Monday.
Earlier this year, a state child sex abuse task force released a report urging lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations for first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy.
For the upcoming year, Gov. Jay Nixon's budget recommends more than $2.6 million for nearly 60 additional positions within the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program at facilities in Farmington and Fulton.
A state law taking effect in 1999 allows certain sex offenders to be civilly committed as a "sexually violent predator" after completing a criminal sentence. Mental Health Department Director Keith Schafer says the growth has been about 20 people per year.
Schafer says the department regularly has sought and received additional staff in the budget.