Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Virginia Bill HB208 Patroned by Delegate Mike Mullin Removes the Requirement that Sexual Battery be Committed by Force, Threat and Intimidation

Not only does HB208 remove the requirement that Sexual Battery be committed by force, threat, intimidation and ruse BUT it removes “intentional” from the statute too. 

NO, NO, NO, NO! 

Contact your one Delegate and tell them to vote NO on HB208. 

Mary Devoy

HB208:      Sexual battery; penalty. 

Sponsor/ Patron:                               Michael P. Mullin (James City Co, York Co., Newport News and Williamsburg)
Co-Sponsors/ Co-Patrons:            None yet 

Companion, Identical or Similar Bills:    
None yet 

Bill Text as Introduced:
Sexual battery; penalty. Removes the requirement that sexual battery be committed by force, threat, intimidation, or ruse and eliminates a provision, rendered superfluous by such removal, that makes a person guilty of sexual battery who, within a two-year period, sexually abuses more than one complaining witness or one complaining witness on more than one occasion. 

Fiscal Impact Statement (Cost to Implement and/or DOC Prison Bed/Space):

Read Full Text or Track Bill Status on Virginia General Assembly Website:

Track Bill Status, Cast Your Vote or Read/Leave Public Comment on Richmond Sunlight Website:
Bill History:

Virginia Emergency Shelter Bills: SB24-Spruill, SB49-Cosgrove HB187-Hayes and HB757-Leftwich Targets RSO’s

01/19/18 10:50AM Update:

I attended the Wednesday January 17, 2018 Senate Courts of Justice meeting because both
SB24 by Senator Lionell Spruill and SB49 by Senator John Cosgrove were on the agenda . For anyone who watched it live , you heard Chairman Obenshain advise Senator Spruill that Chesapeake Chief Wright who requested these Bills wanted to attend the hearing but was unable to because of the weather. So, both Bills were pushed to the next Senate Courts meeting which would be Monday January 22nd. Now a substitute was handed out while this discussion was occurring and I have a copy of it but since it's not public and it hasn't been accepted by the Courts Committee yet I am not posting what the substitute changes.

I will say the substitute handed out on Wednesday does address one of the three requests I made to the Chief a week and a half ago and at that point was receptive but then this week he advised me of only one change he planned to file. 

So, these 2 Bills still have 2 very big barriers that could cause injury, death or charges for a new felony and I will be opposing these Bills unless the two amendments are made by the Committee, I don't have high hopes but I have to try. 

Now some of you may just want these Bills to die and I understand that point and if that's the route you prefer please make it known.

Contact the Patrons and your one Delegate and Senator TODAY (see original post below)!

I will again be present for the hearing on Monday the 22nd.

Mary Devoy

01/16/18 3:55PM Update: 

I circled back with the requestor of these Bills today as it had been 6 days since we last spoke and agreed on multiple amendments. 
The requestor then reached out to one (or more) of the Patrons and instructed them to file one of the amendments which will be in the form of a substitute because of the Fiscal Impact. The requestor is NOT doing the second amendment as they told me they would and the Patron whose office called me this afternoon will not submit the second amendment if the requestor doesn’t agree. 
There is always a chance the Committee may argue against the one substitute OR the Committee could propose even harsher amendments to be made. 
So now I know where I stand on these 4 Bills after attempting to fix them ahead of time with facts and reason. 
I will work on an opposition flyer to take to the VA GA building, then a mass email for the Virginia Legislators and then I will do a post on here in a few days.  
I suggest everyone continues to contact the 4 Patrons and your 2 Representatives (see below) and address all portions of these Bills that you have concerns with because a Bill can change dramatically for the worse or for the better at any point in this process. 
Thank you!

Original Post:

Back on December 20th I posted about the 2 “Emergency Shelter” Bills, since then 2 more have been proposed. 

The 4 Identical Bills are:
HB757             Patroned by Delegate James "Jay" Leftwich-R (Chesapeake) he can be reached at  or (804) 698-1078.
HB187             Patroned by Delegate C.E. Cliff Hayes, Jr. -D (Chesapeake and Suffolk), he can be reached at  or (804) 698-1077.
SB49               Patroned by Senator John Cosgrove Jr. -R (Chesapeake, VA Beach, Isle of Wight, Southampton Co., Franklin Co., Portsmouth and Suffolk), he can be reached at  or (804) 698-7514.
SB24                Patroned by Senator Lionell Spruill Sr. -D (Chesapeake and Norfolk), he can be reached at  or (804) 698-7505. 

Last week I spoke with the person who requested these 4 Bills for 2018 after asking one of the Patrons to forward my list of concerns to the requestor. They told me that all of the collateral consequences the Bills could create were NOT their intention. 

So we discussed how to fix these Bills. 

Now, I always look for reasonable fixes to legislation before I decide opposition is the only option even though I know many readers will say oppose these 4 Bills. I will not be the “Advocate of NO”. I am not attorney who can file court challenges if a new law violates people rights, I do not have endless funds to pay attorneys to do that and I don't have any support from the ACLU of VA. I have to look at Bills that could harm hundreds or thousands of RSO's and try and reduce the damage by as high as a number possible.

I am always willing to listen to the reason for a Bill just like I would hope Virginia Legislators will listen to all the reasons not to propose a Bill. 

This is my go-to check list anytime an RSO Bill is proposed:
1.     Is the Bill even needed? What is he issue trying to be solved?
2.    Can the problem be fixed through a departmental policy change and not legislation?
3.    Does the Bill create more problems than it solves?
4.    Does the Bill unintentionally widen the net further than the existing law?
5.    Will those who need to know about the change in law receive notification?
6.    Does the Bill have financial costs and have the actual costs been captured?
7.    Can the Bill be amended to be acceptable or does it need to just die? 

Back on December 20, 2017 I listed my concerns with the first two Emergency Shelter Bills and those are still my concerns today for all 4, that has not changed. 

But the requestor of these Bills and I agreed on edits/amendments to eliminate every concern I had other than the fact RSO’s would have to tell someone at an Emergency Shelter of their status. Many of you oppose that very point and I get it I do. BUT, if the requestor is person of their word and does in fact get these Bills amended per our discussions I will be extremely grateful for their willingness to listen to the list of concerns and to revise these Bills. So far, I do not have anything tangible to show edits have in fact been made to any of these Bills so I am currently preparing to oppose them when they are heard in a Sub-Committee or Full Committee hearing. 

When one or more of these Bills are placed on a Committee agenda I will add that information to the top of this post as an update and as I have been doing so far, I will also Tweet the hearing information out on Twitter. 

In the meantime, please contact the 4 Patrons (info at the top of this post) and your one Delegate and one Senator and let your voice be heard. 

Mary Devoy

The 2018 Virginia House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee has eliminated the Criminal and Civil Sub-Committees, now there are Sub-Committees #1, #2 and #3.

The 2018 Virginia House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee has eliminated the Criminal and Civil Sub-Committees. There are now Sub-Committees #1, #2 and #3.

        2018 – Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee     
                                                                                                  as of 01/16/18

Richmond, VA. During Session
Chairman- Robert Bell*                                *Also on VSCC
Vice Chair- Gregory Habeeb*
Les Adams**
Jeffrey Bourne*
Jeffrey Campbell*
Jennifer Carroll-Foy*
Benjamin Cline*
*Also on VCSC
Christopher Collins**
C. Todd Gilbert*         
*Also on VSCC
Charniele Herring*              
*Also on VSCC
Patrick Hope**
Terry Kilgore*
James "Jay" Leftwich**
Jason Miyares**
Michael Mullin*
Marcus Simon*
David Toscano*
Vivian Watts*

*  - Sub-Committee #1:  meets Mondays and Wednesdays 1/2 hour after adjournment
*  - Sub-Committee #2: meets Mondays and Wednesdays 1/2 hour after adjournment
*  - Sub-Committee #3: meets on the call of the Chairman

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Virginia Bill HB511 Patroned by Delegate Rob Bell Child abuse or neglect; sex offenders; investigations; reports to law enforcement

§ 16.1-228(6) of the Code of Virginia (for those who had no idea) it’s a felony for a parent or a caretaker to leave a child that not a blood-relative or through marriage alone with a Violent Sex Offender (that’s approx. 83% of the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry).  

Keep in mind in 2006 and 2008 more than 2,000 Non-Violent RSO’s in Virginia were retroactively increased from Non-Violent to Violent on July 1st of each year by the Virginia State Police because the Virginia Legislature had taken sexual misdemeanors and increased them to felonies. So the VSP took that as direction to apply it to all the old convictions of RSO's without any due process. In Virginia the classification of Violent on the VSP SO Registry is totally meaningless. 

Here is a May 23, 2014 Virginia Attorney General Opinion on § 16.1-228(6) 

The AG Decision Summary: A parent or caretaker who leaves a child alone in the same room with a sexually violent offender, but who remains within the dwelling, has not violated § 16.1-228(6). 

So that brings us to HB511 Patroned by Delegate Rob Bell. 

HB511 -Child abuse or neglect; sex offenders; investigations; reports to law enforcement. Adds the complaint that a child has been left alone in the same dwelling with a person to whom the child is not related by blood or marriage and who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against a minor to the list of complaints of suspected child abuse or neglect upon receipt of which a local department of social services is required to notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth and the local law-enforcement agency. The bill also adds such a complaint to the list of complaints that a local department that has been designated as a child-protective services differential response agency by the Department of Social Services must investigate.

At the moment I’m just watching HB511, I’m not opposing it. Because today it is not a crime per Virginia Code for an RSO to be left alone with a minor who isn't a blood relative or related by marriage. But it can be a crime if the court has implemented such a ban on a specific RSO OR if the RSO is under VADOC Probation supervision. 

But I do wonder if Delegate Bell has a second step/bill planned if HB511 becomes law in 2018.

Anyone who has concerns with HB511 or opposes it should contact the Patron  (remember there are 3 Delegate Bell’s so contact the correct one) and your one Virginia Delegate.

Mary Devoy

I Think the VSP Has Killed Virginia Bill HB144 That Would Have Allowed RSO’s Convicted of a Misdemeanor to Petition for Removal from the VSP Registry After 7 Years Instead Having to Wait 15 Years

01/18/18 5:36AM Update:

The Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 and the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee both met at the same time on 01/17, one in the Pocahontas building and one in the Capitol.

I had to make a choice. Do I attend a meeting that is for a Bill I support but have no plans to speak on and that would not be videotaped to be able to watch at a later time OR do I attend a meeting with two identical Bills that I oppose or could be fixed with 2 amendments?
I chose the meeting with the 2 Bills that needed to be amendment or killed. So, I did not attend the meeting for HB144, I have no idea who said what in favor or against it, all I know is the outcome of the Bill per LIS .

Which was:
       Subcommittee recommends passing by indefinitely (7-Y 1-N) this means it is dead for 2018.
The votes were:
YEAS--Gilbert, Bell, Robert B., Cline, Adams, L.R., Collins, Herring, Mullin--7.

Mary Devoy

01/16/18 11:00AM Update:
HB144 Patroned by Delegate Mark Cole will be heard on Wednesday January 17, 2018 by House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1.
 Original 01/14/18 Post:

Back on December 19th (see below) I posted about HB144, it’s a good Bill.

But for the last 2 days I’ve been struggling over a decision, should I share some information I learned on Friday about this Bill or just keep it to myself?

I did send some emails on Friday to members of the Virginia Administration and no one has replied. Now there was a Gubernatorial Inauguration yesterday and this is a weekend but I did expect a reply on Friday based on the issue I had encountered.

So what did I learn on Friday?

Well I had contacted Delegates Cole’s office to let them know a falsehood would most likely be given in an attempt to stop HB144. A falsehood that has been used for the last 10 years to get bad Bills passed and to get good Bills stopped, compliance with AWA/SORNA. I have been a front-row witness to these repeated falsehoods and I always stand up in Committee meetings to correct those making the false statements or I send out an email to everyone concerned when I learn it has been made behind closed doors.

Last Friday one (or more) Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons who oppose HB144, falsely claimed to Delegate Cole’s office if it were to pass that Virginia would lose Federal Adam Walsh Act /SORNA compliance which would mean the State of Virginia would lose funds.

HB144 does not automatically remove Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) from the VSP Sex Offender Registry at 7 years. It requires a court petition and a judge’s approval and it’s only available to those with a misdemeanor sexual conviction.

All felony Non-Violent RSO’s must still wait 15 years before a court petition is allowed.

The Federal AWA/SORNA does not mandate misdemeanor offenses be registered so HB144 has nothing to do with AWA/SORNA.

The AWA/SORNA directs 15 years for the lowest Tier/Level and they DO NOT require a court petition, they are AOK with automatic removal. So, if at any future date Virginia moved from a court petition to automatic removal of the felony Non-Violent RSO’s at the 15-year mark, that would NOT be an issue with AWA/SORNA either.

From my VERY first Virginia House Militia Police and Safety Sub-Committee hearing back in 2009 I watched a VSP Legislative Liaison tell the Sub-Committee members a falsehood. I then stood up and told the members what was just claimed was not true and then went on to explain the actual process.
When I stood up an original Virginia advocate (who has since disappeared) grabbed me by my shoulder and said to me that I couldn’t tell the Committee members that the VSP Liaison was lying that I’d just have to let it go because the Committee members would always believe the VSP and not me. That moment in time energized me, I realized the uphill battle I had signed on for was actually going to be 1000X’s harder than I had ever expected.

Ove the last 10 session I have encountered multiple scenarios of falsehoods being made by not just the VSP but back in 2010 and 2011 the Virginia Attorney General’s Office also made incorrect AWA claims to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, that I had to then correct after the fact. Luckily, I have no issue in speaking up when a false claim has been made about SO legislation by those in authority, whereas I think most people would.

I do believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.

Mistakes happen.

Sometimes people don't know the right answer and they take a guess which may be wrong.

But what I've been witnessing for 10 years is blatant falsehoods from VSP Legislative Liaisons and because the Virginia Delegates and Senators are going to believe the VSP 99.9% of the time I feel like I need to make this serious issue public.

Facts matter, even when the topic is Registered Sex Offenders and I truly feel that I am I the only one that believes this when it comes to legislation and policies in the State of Virginia.I do believe HB144 is dead in the water for 2018 because of the tactics by the VSP Legislative Liaison last week.

A Smart Bill was proposed by Delegate Cole (that I had nothing to do with) that would allow the lowest threats to be removed from the VSP SO Registry so that VSP scarce resources could be better directed towards the higher threats on the VSP Registry and what stance does the VSP take on the Bill? To mislead the Patron by claiming that Virginia would lose Federal funds if his Bill were to pass. I just don’t get it.

Mary Devoy

Repost of December 19, 2017 Post: 

A Bill has just posted in LIS (see below) and I am just dumbstruck. It’s a positive Bill that would only help a small percentage of Virginia RSO’s, but it actually helps instead of hurts and that’s why I’m shocked at the moment. 

I have no idea where this proposal came from as I have not been asking for it but for some reason Delegate Cole has decided to sponsor it and I thank him for doing so. 

The closest type of proposal I’ve been asking for Virginia Delegates and Senators to Patron was part of my Legislative Goal #4 - Move Misdemeanor/Non-Violent & Juveniles RSO’s to a Private Registry AND Automatically Remove Them Both After a Reasonable Time-frame of Perfect Compliance