Oklahoma Bill To Make Meth Offender Registry More Accessible

Monday, March 23rd 2015, 10:33 pm
By: News 9

New changes could be coming to the state's meth offender registry. If one lawmaker gets his way, information on meth users would be more accessible.

The meth registry was created about five years ago as way to search for convicted meth offenders, much like the sex offender registry.

But as of now, you can't search anyone's name without a date of birth, and new bill plans to change that.

If you've been convicted of a meth crime in Oklahoma since 2010, there's a list with your name on it. It's called the Meth Registry, run by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

"We should have access to this information mainly to protect ourselves," said State Rep. Sean Roberts, who represents Oklahoma's 36th district, including Osage and Tulsa Counties.

Roberts wrote House Bill 1793 to make the meth registry more searchable. His bill allows for anyone to check the list with just a last name, and then details like an offender's address or a list of crimes will appear.

"If they did the crime, then, the public should know about it because we don't want to have our children going into unsafe environments,” Roberts said.

“If we open it up where Oklahomans can see everyone who's on the list then it'll protect our kids, who could be against that?”

Oklahoma City attorney David Slane said the list should only be for law enforcement and pharmacies because it infringes on offenders' privacy.

"Say somebody uses drugs, gets cleaned and then moves on with their life, this is going to stereotype them, it's going to be the modern-day scarlet letter for a drug user," Slane said.

Anyone on the list could stay on for 10 years after their conviction. Although the registry doesn't require offender's to take a picture, Slane said the meth registry will make it difficult for offenders to get jobs, good housing and go to college.

"I think the public has a right to know some things, but at some point, especially for someone who has had a drug problem, if they've gone and taken care of it, they don't belong on a list like this, it's going to build another stumbling block for these people's recovery,” Slane said.

Roberts said the bill will be amended to allow offenders, who go through drug court or have a deferred sentence to get off the list. The bill passed through the house last week and is headed to the Senate next.