Thursday, January 17, 2019

My 3 Smart 2019 Reform Proposals for this Year’s Virginia General Assembly Session


I know I’m behind in updating the 2019 VA GA page, I will try and catch up this Friday and Saturday.
In the meantime, I want to be sure everyone knows that the 3 Bills I was lobbying for August-November are all online and 2 have even been discussed in Sub-Committee. Of those 2 one was PBI’ed (Passed by indefinitely) and the other is being rewritten which means it has to come back to Sub-Committee unless they refuse to put it on the agenda a gain.
Mary Devoy
 
My Bill #1, to study the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry and all the restrictions and regulations
It is in the 2019 Senate Budget Bill, as an Amendment: https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/amendments/2019/1/SB1100/Introduced/MR/



My Bill #2, to either create an electronic system for RSO to update their email addresses OR to remove the word “electronic” and change the words “30 minutes” to “3 days” in VA Code until an electronic system is finally implemented.
Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 January 14, 2019 Video 0:10:00 thru 0:30:23 https://www.ustream.tv/recorded/119579868 , the House Sub-Committee #1 passed by indefinitely.
Senate version: SB1385-   http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+SB1385

My Bill #3, to eliminate the costly USPS certified letters for VSP reregistration and to move to a rotating/repeating re-registration system that allows RSO a 2-week window in the month their reregistration is due to comply, to return the reregistration due dates to the internet posting and to sync the photograph due dates back up with reregistration due dates.
House version: HB2089- http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+HB2089
         Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 January 11, 2019 Video: at 1:41:0 https://www.ustream.tv/channel/evtj3sA5sDP
Senate version: SB1418-   http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+SB1418

Update and Action Item on 2019 SB1047 Virginia Senator John Cosgrove's VSP Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelters Bill



FYI, the deadline for bills to be filed by Virginia Delegates and Senators is tomorrow January 18th by 3PM, but that doesn’t mean they will be posted in LIS by that deadline it could take until the end of Monday January 21st for all the bills to be known.

So, at the moment there are 2 Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelter bills

SB1047 – Senator John Cosgrove
HB2303 – Delegate Jay Leftwich

On Monday January 14th the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee heard SB1047.

Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee Meeting January 14 Video 0:05:23 THRU 0:17:17 https://virginia-senate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=2377



The Senate Committee:
1.
Returned the language from 2018 that prohibits the shelter from denying entry by a VSP RSO because of their status, that’s great.
2. They removed the misdemeanor penalty, that’s great.

They did NOT, add the language from Senator Spruill’s 2018 version that said the VSP RSO will NOT be separated from their family or segregated into a Sex Offender area. I’m going to continue to insist on this verbiage but I don’t have high hopes they will add it.

They also did NOT add language for the VSP to notify all RSO’s of this new retroactive mandate before it takes effect on July 1, 2019 (if it becomes law). Now if there is no misdemeanor penalty in the final version, I’m OK with that but if there is a criminal penalty there MUST be notification and if I can’t get it added in the final version, I will ask the Governor to add it.

If you watch Monday’s hearing (link above) you will hear Chairman Obenshain say multiple times there will be time to work on the bill. What does that mean?

That means Chairman Obenshain knows the Virginia House version will leave in the verbiage that allows RSO to be denied entry AND the misdemeanor penalty their sticking pints from last year and the reason the bills died in conference (exactly what I suspected) last session and he expects both 2019 version to be sent back to conference this year and negotiations will have to occur if the bill is finally going to be passed this year. The negotiations will be the “time to work on the bill” point Senator Obenshain stated.

So, what I am thinking will happen.

That in conference (which is behind closed doors) the 3 Senate members will insist on the verbiage that prevents an RSO from being denied entry and to get the 3 House members to agree the misdemeanor penalty will be added back in.

This is just my personal opinion there’s no way to know what will or will not happen.

So, is there anything you can do in the meantime? Yes.

You can email your Virginia Senator TODAY and ask them for a Senate floor amendment adding the green and striking the bold.

1                                                                                SENATE BILL NO. 1047
2                                                     AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
3                                                     (Proposed by the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice
4                                                                                on January 14, 2019)
5                                                           (Patron Prior to Substitute––Senator Cosgrove)
6                         A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 9.1-906.1, relating to sex
7                                                     offenders in emergency shelters; notification; registration.
8 Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
9 1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 9.1-906.1 as follows:
10 § 9.1-906.1. Emergency shelters; notification; registration.
11 Any person required to register or reregister who enters any place or facility that is designated by
12 the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof as an emergency shelter and operated in
13 response to a state or local emergency declared pursuant to Chapter 3.2 (§ 44-146.13 et seq.) of Title
14 44 shall, as soon as practicable after entry, notify a member of the emergency shelter's staff who is
15 responsible for providing security at the emergency shelter that such person is a registered sex offender.
16 The use of such Registry information pursuant to this section does not constitute a violation of
17 § 9.1-918. No person shall be denied entry into an emergency shelter solely on the basis of his status as
18 a registered sex offender unless such entry is otherwise prohibited by law.
19  An emergency shelter may not isolate a registered sex offender away from his family members. Such
20  family members may accompany a registered sex offender who resides in an emergency shelter
21  2. That the Department of State Police shall provide to any person required to register on the Sex
22  Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry the Department of State Police shall notify any person
23  who is already required to register pursuant to § 9.1-901 as set forth by the provisions of this act prior
24  to July 1, 2019 when this new law would take effect.
19 2. That the Department of State Police shall provide to any person required to register on the Sex
20 Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry at the time of his initial registration a summary of
21 the provisions of this act.
Thank you.

Mary Davye Devoy

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Reminder: Lee-Jackson Day Which is ONLY Observed in Virginia is One of the Two 4-Day VSP Holidays When RSO’s Can’t Register, Re-register or Update Changes in Their Data



Back on July 9, 2015 I posted about the Virginia State Police (VSP) website, VSP Locations hours of operation, VSP S.O. Helpline hours of operation and VSP observed holidays.

 

The VSP website does not post VSP Location hours of operation or observed holidays. The VSP Barracks doors or main desk do not post hours of operation or observed holidays. The VSP website also does not post the phone number 804-674-2825 OR the hours of operation for the VSP Sex Offender Help Desk (Hotline). Despite my multiple requests directly to the VSP to add this crucial information to their website and locations.

 

You can also register with your local authority (police, sheriff, etc) and they then send the paperwork to the VSP Headquarters to enter it into the VSP SOR. But a holiday is a holiday so your local authority could also be closed for RSO registrations, re-registrations and data changes.

 

In Virginia because there is NO electronic system our RSO’s MUST register ANY change of information in-person (if they move or become homeless, if they change their name, if they lose or start a  job part-time or full-time, if they enroll or un-enroll in school part-time or full-time, if they add or delete a phone number or if they buy or sell a vehicle) within 3 days (not 3 business days) or within 30 minutes (if they add or delete an email address, an instant messenger identifier or a chat identifier) per Virginia law.

 

There are 2 reoccurring 4-Day stretches where Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia are unable to comply with  Virginia law they are:

 

1. Lee-Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day       

(Friday Preceding the 3rd Monday in January and the 3rd Monday in January)

2. Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday

(4th Thursday and Friday in November)

 

#1 is this coming Friday and next Monday!

2019 Virginia State Police Annual Sex Offender Monitoring Report



The January 1, 2019 Virginia State Police annual Sex Offender Monitoring Report finally posted online https://rga.lis.virginia.gov/Published/2019/RD38/PDF

I received an email notification this morning but it claims it was from yesterday afternoon so not sure exactly when it posted.

Above and below are the charts I’ve been updating for the last 10 years to help track the growth of Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), the number of home/work/school verifications, the number of FTR investigations and the number of FTR convictions.

Action Item: Contact Virignia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox and Ask Him to Fix the Known Sub-Committee and Full Committee Last-Minute Agenda Issue that's Gone on for Too Many Years


Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, it's time to get the VA House Committee and Sub-Committee agendas online within 24 hours’ notice and any Monday agenda online by 6PM the prior Saturday.


These meetings are the ONLY time citizens of Virginia can speak on a bill, if they miss THIS meeting all they have left is email and phone calls.

Enough is enough!

It was only Day #4 of the 2019 VA GA, not Day #24. They weren't running out of time, there was no reason for an agenda to post online at 6:45AM for a 1PM hearing.

17+ bills to be debated with less than 7 hours notice.



Including HB2255 that was one of my good bills and HB2300 that I oppose.

Read my 3-day thread (in images) below from Twitter and then send an email to Speaker Cox.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Action Item: HB2300 Patroned by Virginia Delegate Chris Collins Creates a Blanket Ban for ANYONE on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry to Drive a Taxi Cab, Bus or Shuttle




Update 01/15/19:


1. Delegate Brenda Pogge HB2255 Registered Sex Offenders Email Addresses on the Video: 0:10:00 thru 0:30:23

2. Delegate Chris Collins HB2300 Registered Sex Offenders driving Taxi Cabs / Buses on the Video: 1:29:0 thru 1:47:0



Original Post:

An hour and a half ago, I posted about Delegate Fariss’ smart 2019 bill to remove the 2006 blanket ban for tow truck drivers with a criminal conviction but this post is the exact opposite.

Virginia Delegate Chris Collins (he had the
2018’s Drone Bill) has filed HB2300- Operations of certain motor vehicles: sex offenders he wants to ban ALL Virginia State Police Registered Sex Offenders from driving taxicabs OR other motor vehicles that transport people for hire.

A bit of background:

Back in 2011 I worked to amend HB1733 , HB2226 and SB807 which were full transport bans originally, were amended to create a Type S Driver’s License (for Virginia School Bus Drivers) and anyone on the VSP SOR would not be permitted to hold a Type-S.

 

Then in 2012 I worked to amend HB1178 again a total ban originally but we created a Type P CDL License (for Virginia school and daycare center charters) and anyone on the VSP SOR would not be permitted to hold a Type-P.

 

By narrowing the scope of these bill in 2011 and 2012 Virginians who were/are listed on the VSP SOR and who were driving without any issues could continue to drive and earn a living to provide for their families.



There have been bills filed by other Delegates and Senators at the 2019 Virginia session to remove unnecessary licensure barriers for former offenders yet here we have Delegate Collins adding a new and retroactive barrier.

Now national companies Uber and Lyft do ban Registered Sex Offenders from driving for them, they are private companies so they can have such policies.

Today any taxicab company can also have a policy banning drivers who are listed on the VSP SOR, that’s their prerogative.

But WHY do we need a law banning it?

Have there been VSP RSO’s who were driving taxi’s that have assaulted passengers? No there have not been I’ve been tracking that information. But there HAVE been Uber and Lyft drivers with no prior sexual conviction who HAVE assaulted passengers, so the RSO ban didn’t prevent those crimes from occurring.



With Delegate Collins’ 2019 bill to ban VSP RSO’s from driving taxicabs, buses and shuttles, we are RIGHT back to where we were in 2012. Why?

Virginia already has Type-S and Type P Driver Licenses that already prevent VSP RSO’s from driving school buses and school and daycare charters and taxi cab and bus companies can implement any policy, ban or background check they want.

HB2300 is unnecessary, there is no issue that needs fixing.

HB2300, it’s using the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry to punish not to administrate.

While other State are working on Criminal Justice reforms that include removing employment barriers in 2019 for past convictions here, we are doubling down in Virginia and it makes zero sense.

Please contact your Virginia Delegate TODAY and ask them to oppose the bill.

Thank you!

Mary Davye Devoy

HB1697 Patroned by Virginia Delegate Matthew Fariss Tow Truck Drivers Removes the Blanket Ban on Criminal History Allowing for Consideration



The summary for HB1697 says this:

Makes discretionary the prohibition on the issuance of a tow truck driver registration to a person who was convicted of a violent crime or a crime involving the driving of a tow truck, including drug or alcohol offenses, when the conviction occurred more than 10 years prior to the date of application

But if you go read the text of the bill (above) it’s not just in the section for drug or alcohol offenses, it’s in the sex offense section too.

This is a good bill.

Back in 2006 (before I became an advocate) the Virginia Legislature passed Companion Bills (
http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?061+sum+HB1258 and http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?061+sum+SB134) that retroactively took away the ability for anyone who is on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry to drive a tow truck. There was no data, facts or basis for this 2006 Virginia ban it just happened and there were Virginians with a past sexual conviction who were successfully operating tow truck companies and driving for tow truck companies that lost their ability to earn a living and support their families. There was no due process, no appeal process, nothing.

This 2019 bill does not guarantee a VSP RSO will be allowed to drive a tow truck but it removes the 2006 blanket-ban that created an unnecessary employment barrier for former offenders who have paid their court order debt to society, who are registering as required and have experience in a field that they can earn a living and contribute to society.

Blanket bans with no appeals process, just like mandatory minimums do NOT make us a safer society but instead a crueler and punitive society.


Hopefully the House Committee leaves it as is (drug, alcohol and sex offenses) and passes it.

Thank you Delegate Farris.

Mary Davye Devoy

Action Item: HB2172- Patroned by Virginia Delegate Jason Miyares Adds 11 Exceptions to Geriatric Conditional Release and NO Surprise “Sex Offenders” are his Main Target





01/15/19 1:26PM Update:
Wednesday January 16, 2019 Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 Agenda is online https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/agendas/agendaItem.php?id=1579&ses=191#
31 Bills will be debated including HB2172.
Please contact every member of the Committee (list below) TODAY!
Mary

Original Post:
Just a reminder for everyone, Virginia abolished Parole back in 1995 (AKA Truth in Sentencing) which actually means there’s a mandatory minimum of 85% of the sentence for every conviction.
There is a Conditional Release of Geriatric Prisoners option per § 53.1-40.01. and today EVERY Virginia Geriatric Prisoner (65+ years old) can be considered, except for those serving a sentence for a Class 1 Felony.

Delegate Miyares 2019
HB2172 adds to that list of exceptions:
  1. Murder in the 1st and 2nd degree
  2. Abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purpose
  3. Rape
  4. Forcible sodomy
  5. Object sexual penetration
  6. Aggravated sexual battery
  7. Crimes against nature
  8. Adultery and fornication by persons forbidden to marry; incest
  9. Taking indecent liberties with children
  10. Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship
  11. Production, publication, sale, financing, etc., of child pornography; presumption as to age
Out of the Delegates 11 additional exceptions, 10 of them are sex crimes.


HB2088- Patroned by Delegate Vivian Watts Proposes Registration as a Sex Offender for 3rd Offense of §18.2-386.2. Unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another, it Needs a Start Date of July 1, 2019



HB2088 Patroned by Virginia Delegate Vivian Watts proposes registration as a VSP Sex Offender on a third strike/offense of § 18.2-386.2. Unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another.

Be sure to read the number of convictions per the FIS http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+oth+HB2088F160+PDF in two-year period 61 people. Because no one knows if there have been any 3rd strikes the FIS is the very bottom dollar of $50,000.

Now I know some followers think I should oppose EVERY RSO bill that increases anything and there are some followers who are for abolishment of all SOR’s, that’s your stance not mine.

If someone has done this a 3rd time that’s a problem. Do they deserve a punishment? Yes.

Is registration as a public Sex Offender and all that comes with it the correct solution? Maybe.

I will NOT be opposing this bill BUT I have already asked the Patron for an amendment and if she doesn’t offer it up at the House Sub-Committee hearing, I will then ask the Sub-Committee for the amendment.

This bill needs a start date of July 1, 2019. Why?

Because without that start date (per
§9.1-901. Section C) if this becomes law it will be applied retroactively, This means the Virginia State Police will search all VA Court records for people who already have three convictions of Unlawful Dissemination and force those people to retroactively register as VSP Sex Offenders with ZERO due process all under the threat of a felony.

New criminal laws should ONLY be applied to new crimes committed AFTER the law went into effect, NOT after.

Now, if you oppose this bill contact your Virginia Delegate THIS week, and ask them to oppose the bill.

If you agree that a start date of July 1, 2019 must be added to this bill then please contact the members of the House Courts of Justice Committee (list below) TODAY and ask them to do so when they hear the bill.



Action Item: HB1673 Delegate Mullin Added an Act of God to Virginia Code to clarify Court Hearings /Deadlines for §§ 16.1-253.1 and 19.2-152.9 and House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #2 Agreed. So, Shouldn’t the Same Be Done to § 9.1-903 Sex Offender Registration Information Due Dates? YES!



Back on December 27, 2018 I posted an action item about Virginia Delegate Mike Mullin’s HB1673.

The bill was heard on Friday afternoon in House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #2 (Civil) while I was across the hall in Sub-Committee #1 (Criminal). Since I cannot be in 2 places at once I had to make a choice which Sub-Committee to attend since there was a bill being heard in each that I cared about.

HB1673 passed out of Subcommittee #2 with a 7-0 vote, there is no substitute or amendment posted at this time in LIS so I am presuming it was not changed (I don’t have time to watch the Progress VA video of the meeting) but it may have been and there’s a delay because of the weekend.

HB1673 now heads to the House Courts of Justice Full Committee.

As of this time on Sunday there is no Full Committee meeting scheduled on LIS for tomorrow Monday January 14 but that doesn’t mean they won’t add one. If they don’t meet tomorrow, they WILL meet on Wednesday January 16th to vote on HB1673.

I need you to contact every member of the VA House Courts of Justice Committee (
see list below) before they vote on HB1673.

What does HB1673 do? It adds an Act of God to Virginia Code to clarify Court Hearings /Deadlines for §§ 16.1-253.1 and 19.2-152.9. will be automatically rescheduled to the next day that is NOT a Sat, a Sun or a Holiday.

Why should RSO’s care? For the 10 years I’ve raised the issue to all Virginia Delegates, Senators and 3 Administrations that § 9.1-903 https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title9.1/chapter9/section9.1-903/
says “3 days” instead of “3 business days” or “5 days”. Which is problematic since Virginia State Police is only open Mon-Fri 8:30AM-4:30PM. I’ve had 2 bills in the past to fix this and one was killed by the House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee.

Most Virginia Delegates and Senators have agreed that since § 9.1-903 (which carries a felony punishment) doesn’t align with VSP hours of operation AND because it requires in-person submissions during the hours most people would be at work that compliance is not always achievable.

The main opposition claim I've heard over the years is, if the gov't office isn’t scheduled to be open then of course the next day they are open go register.

So, if I sell a vehicle on a Thurs evening and Fri-Sun the VSP is closed am I required to show up on Monday (even if I had to work) to register the change or could I wait till Tuesday after all THAT’S officially only the 2nd day they’re open. Or how about Wednesday, officially that's 3 business days but it's NOT 3 days. Don't forget a felony hangs over the decision for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders.

It’s open for interpretation by each VSP Compliance Officer, Trooper and District office.

The Virginia State Police’s brochure claims 3 days, NOT 3 business days. They’ve never made a holiday handout showing if a change occurs on THIS day and a holiday stretches from-here-to-there when the deadline to register the change must occur is. That would be an easy handout to create, so why don’t they? Because then they can’t trip RSO’s up but officially they’d claim that would be legal advice.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Action Item: Virginia Senator John Cosgrove’s SB1047 Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelters is on Senate Courts of Justice Agenda for Monday January 14 8AM. It’s High on Fear and Low on Facts.





Update 01/15/19:
Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee January 14, 2019 8AM
Video 0:05:23 THRU 0:17:17
 
Original Post:



At the moment there are 2 Sex Offender in Emergency Shelter Bills
SB1047 is on Monday (January 14, 2019) mornings Senate Courts of Justice agenda for 8AM http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+doc+S0310114
The original 4 2018 requests for this legislation came from Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright and Chief wright told me twice and he told the Senate Committee last year that he did NOT want Registered Sex Offenders to be denied entry into any Emergency Shelter, yet that’s what 2019 SB1047 and HB2303 will allow.
To be denied safe shelter by the state where these people live, work and pay taxes in the midst of a hurricane or a flood perhaps under a mandatory evacuation order. Why because of a 5, 10, 15 20 or 25-year-old conviction.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Action Item: 2019 HB2089 to Move the Virginia State Police Re-Registrations to a Repeating / Rotating Schedule that Doesn’t Require a USPS Letter to be Received and in Hand Before the VSP Will Take Re-Registration AND Sync Up the Photo Due Dates with Registration Dates Will be Heard in Sub-Committee on Friday January 11th





Friday December 11 2:20PM Update:
January 11, 2019 Virginia House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1 (Criminal) Meeting
The entire meeting goes for 02:11 around 01:41 HB2089-Watts is heard. https://www.ustream.tv/channel/evtj3sA5sDP
Delegate Gilbert asked me to come up and talk about the bill even though I had remained seated.
I did so hesitantly, fearing my support of the bill would turn off 2 of the members.
A delayed enactment of July 1 2010 was added so VSP could have IT Contractor figure out new electronic system and the cost.
The Virginia State Police did NOT oppose the bill.
Delegate Rob Bell felt there was too much verbiage was being added asked Delegate Watts to rewrite and bring it back to next SubCommittee#1 hearing which could be next Monday or next Wednesday.

Mary

Friday December 11 5:15AM Update:
Today the 2019 Virginia House convenes at 10AM (2 hours earlier than most days) http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+oth+MTG

Progress Virginia estimates start time of House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 (1/2 hour after House adjourns) is 11AM.

Watch Live Video Stream or the Archived here: https://eyesonrichmond.org/

Original Post:


Wow, that’s fast. I haven’t done any mass email’s yet and I was planning on lobbying the VA GA members / building starting on Monday (I’ve been dealing with a dead washing machine today)

But tomorrow Friday January 11, 2019 Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 (Criminal) afternoon agenda https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/agendas/agendaItem.php?id=1540&bill_ids=HB1744# includes Delegate Vivian Watts’ bill HB2089 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+sum+HB2089 that is my Smart Bill #3 (House version) https://restoringintegritytovirginiaregistry.blogspot.com/2018/11/smart-bills-legislation-for-registered.html

Sub-Committee meetings are not video streamed by VA GA but by Progress Virginia.

I have planned NOT to speak in favor of this bill and allow Delegate Watts to sell it to the Committee, if it fails, we still have a Senate version of it and we’ll try to get that one through the Senate before the House has a stab at it.

I am asking all of you to email or call Committee members today or tomorrow (before lunch) and ask them to support HB2089 contact info is below.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2019 Virginia General Assembly Begins Today in Richmond and New Bills/Legislation are Posting Every Hour



Bills are posting online hourly for the 2019 Virginia General Assembly that convenes today in Richmond VA.
I am updating my 2019 VA GA page as fast as possible; the formatting is bad for now sorry. I change the date and time at the top of the VA GA page once I’ve made an update. For now, I’m not bucketing the bills by oppose, support or watch but I will do so in a few days.
I’m also tweeting out the bills as they post on Richmond Sunlight see my Twitter feed over on the right of your screen.
Over the next 2+ days I’ll start posting individual Action Items on bills I will be opposing and supporting and if any bills that I’m watching are amended for the worse, they will then also have an action item added.
It’s looking like it will be a very busy and possibly difficult session on RSO issues but we are still too early on to know for sure.
Please continue to check posts, the VA GA page and my Twitter feed at least twice a day if not more.
Mary Devoy

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Action Item: Virginia Delegate Mullin (Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney) Wants to Add an Act of God to Virginia Code to clarify Court Hearings /Deadlines for §§ 16.1-253.1 and 19.2-152.9 so Shouldn’t the Same Be Done to § 9.1-903 Sex Offender Registration Information?



For the 10 years I’ve raised the issue to all Virginia Delegates, Senators and 3 Administrations that § 9.1-903 https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title9.1/chapter9/section9.1-903/ says “3 days” instead of “3 business days” or “5 days”. Which is problematic since Virginia State Police is only open Mon-Fri 8:30AM-4:30PM.

Most Virginia Delegates and Senators have agreed that since § 9.1-903 (which carries a felony punishment) doesn’t align with VSP hours of operation AND b/c it requires in-person submissions during the hours most people would be at work that compliance is not always achievable.

I’ve even had two bills proposed to try and fix THIS discrepancy. Both bills were opposed by the VSP Legislative Liaisons so the Committees sided with the VSP, not w/ me.

2011-HB1628 Was amended in House Militia, Police and Safety, left to die in Appropriations.

2012-HB416 was “Laid on the table” instead of voting on by the House Courts of Justice Sub-Comm.

I haven’t given up on fixing the issue, I have 1 Delegate & 2 Senators Patroning bills in Jan mainly to address the “30-minute” issue but their changes may single out business days it all depends on the verbiage they have chosen verses what I asked them to use.

The main opposition claim I've heard over the years is, if the gov't office isn’t scheduled to be open then of course the next day they are open go register.

So, if I sell a vehicle on a Thurs evening and Fri-Sun the VSP is closed am I required to show up on Monday (even if I had to work) to register the change or could I wait till Tuesday after all THAT’S officially only the 2nd day they’re open. Or how about Wednesday, officially that's 3 business days but it's NOT 3 days. Don't forget a felony hangs over the decision.

It’s open for interpretation by each VSP Compliance Officer, Trooper and District office.

For example:

When my husband took the Alford plea deal in Hanover County on October 25, 2007 (a Thursday) the judge and the Asst. Commonwealth Attorney told him and his attorney (right there in the court room) that he had 10 days to register with the VSP. When in fact the law had changed 15 months prior via http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?061+sum+SB559 but they didn’t seem to know that.

My husband was off the next day, a Friday so he just went ahead and registered. He told the VSP Trooper at the VSP Barracks that he had 9 more days but he was just going to get it done, The Trooper told him that if he hadn’t shown up THAT day to register that they would have arrested him on Monday for failure-to-register. Being sentenced on a Thursday afternoon to be arrested on a Monday is NOT a 3-business day span, it’s 3 days.

BTW the Adam Walsh Act/SORNA states 3 business days for initial registration from sentence or release but as we learned in 2007, the VSP is NOT following that.

The Virginia State Police’s brochure claims 3 days, NOT 3 business days. They’ve never made a weekend/holiday handout showing if a change occurs on THIS day and a weekend/holiday stretches from-here-to-there when the deadline to register the change must occur is. That would be an easy handout to create, so why don’t they? Because then they can’t trip RSO’s up but officially they’d claim that would be legal advice and they don't give that.

Who plans on the day they lose a job, become homeless or finally sells their vehicle? No one.

2018 Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission’s Recommendation #1 to Revise Sentencing Guidelines for a 2nd or Subsequent Failure to Register w/ the Sex Offender & Crimes against Minors Registry by an Individual Who is Not Categorized as Sexually Violent (§ 18.2-472.1(A))



The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commissions 2018 Report:
http://www.vcsc.virginia.gov/2018AnnualReport.pdf

Per § 17.1-806 Code of Virginia, any recommendations by VCSC must be presented in annual report on December 1st.

Unless a Virginia Delegate or Senator proposes a Bill/ Legislation at the upcoming 2019 General Assembly session to oppose (stop) or amend any Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission’s recommendations, it goes into effect the following July 1. No signature from the Virginia Governor is required.

Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission 2018 Recommendation #1 page 69:

Revise sentencing guidelines for a 2nd or subsequent failure to register w/ the Sex Offender & Crimes against Minors Registry by an individual who is not categorized as sexually violent (§ 18.2-472.1(A)).


“With these changes, offenders not categorized as sexually violent who are convicted of a second or subsequent Registry violation and who have at least one prior felony Registry violation will always be recommended for a jail term by the guidelines”.


A Failure-to-Register (FTR) does NOT always mean a Virginia Registered Sex Offender is intentionally hiding information or absconded.

An FTR can include:

  • The inability to register an email change w/in the 30-minute window.
  • Forgetting to notify the VSP w/in 3 days that you lost your job last week b/c you’re trying to find a new one.
  • You’ve become homeless and cannot get to (no car) a LE location to notify VSP of this.
  • You bought or sold a vehicle and forgot to notify the VSP within 3 days.
  • You're married, took your spouse’s last name went on honeymoon, failing to notify VSP w/in 3 days.
  • You've been hospitalized or have dementia and were unable to notify VSP w/in 3 days you're in hospital or assisted living facility.

ALL of these will trigger a VSP FTR investigation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Action Item for Virginia Senator John Cosgrove’s 2019 SB1047: Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelter


Update:

There is now a House version of this proposal.

HB2303 – Delegate Jay Leftwich

Original Post:

I have now compared Virginia Senator John Cosgrove’s 2019 SB1047, Sex Offenders in Emergency Shelter Bill to all 4 2018 versions, plus all the proposed and reject substitutes and accepted amendments from 2018.
I’m sure there will be other 2019 versions or at least a House (Companion) bill submitted at some point over the next few weeks but for now I will just address SB1047.
Issues:
1. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to deny entry to ANY VSP Registered Sex Offender (RSO) in the midst of a natural disaster and perhaps a mandatory evacuation order.

- Where is the VSP RSO expected to go in the middle of a flood or hurricane?- What happens to their family members or friends that came with them and may need care by the RSO?

2. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to segregate VSP Registered Sex Offenders from the rest of the evacuees.

- What happens if the RSO is a juvenile, they can’t remain with their parent/guardian?- What happens if the RSO is disabled or elderly and needs a family member to care for them in the shelter?

3. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to separate the VSP Registered Sex Offender from their family members even if they are caring for a child or a disabled or elderly family member or friend.

4. The current verbiage makes non-notification to shelter staff a misdemeanor offense. I personally believe they would have made it a felony but that would require a Fiscal Impact Statement to budget the cost of imprisonment.





This bill is using the VSP SOR as a tool of punishment NOT administration because it comes with a misdemeanor punishment, it allows the shelter to deny entry and it could mean family members are separated during a disaster solely because of the VSP SOR listing not because of current behavior or actions at the shelter, which the shelter can already use to remove unruly people.
So, what can be done with this bill?