A Blog to Keep Citizens of Virginia Informed on Pending State and Federal Legislation, Current Legal Restrictions, Issues, News and Action Items For Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's)
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Action Alert Federal Bill: Congressman Chris Smith attaches an International Megan’s Bill Amendment to HR2848 - Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014
Jersey’s CongressmanChris Smithis at it again! He wants to restrict/revoke the passports of Registered
First there was 2008’sHR5722. Then there was 2009’sHR1623. To be followed by 2010’sHR5138. And then again in 2011 there was HR3253plus TWO “Trafficking” Bills
with passport restrictions for RSO’sHR2830ANDHR3589.
Still pending for 2013 is hisHR898-Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of
2013 also with a Registered Sex Offender passport restrict/revoke mandate.
Then there have been other sponsors of travel
and/or passport restrictions for Registered Sex Offenders.
Like Congressman Ted Poe’s 2010 billHR5870. Blatantly titled; To restrict passports of certain
sex offenders, and for other purposes.
2010 and 2011 were busy years for these types of bills because
of aGAO Reportthat
They have all so far failed to be voted on in the
House or in the Senate.
Now, Congressman Smith has submitted an amendment
toHR2848- Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act,
Fiscal Year 2014. This
amendment is to Megan’s Law, it grants the Secretary of State discretion to
limit the valid duration of passports for convicted sex offenders listed on the
National Sex Offender Registry, or to revoke the passport of an individual
convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a sex
offense. The amendment was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on August 1st
amendment is way too broad. Allowing open discretion to the Secretary of
State’s Office to revoke passports will most likely turn into a blanket-ban
against ALL registered offenders.
Only offenders who have been convicted
of Trafficking Humans or of International Sexual Crimes should be evaluated
and considered for passport and travel restrictions internationally.
And that should be on a case-by-case basis, not a one-size-fits-all mandate.
amendment stays as is in HR2848 it
will most likely be broaden over time to include everyone (all RSO’s).
think that by inserting his long-time International Megan’s Law as an amendment
into HR2848 it will pass and could
very likely become Federal law. I also believe that if this becomes law the
cost of checking everyone’s passports will be an issue and they will pass it on
to the RSO as a fee. The Secretary of States Office might even determine
special passports should be created for RSO’s, they might expire sooner, they
could cost more and everyone who is handed the document would immediately know
the owner is an RSO, a “scarlet letter of travel”. If you’re traveling with
your own children you or your family could be hassled or scrutinized because everyone
knows you’re an RSO.
amendment could snowball into a huge cost, inconvenience and barrier for RSO’s
who travel for work, family, school or vacation. It’s unnecessary, its prejudice and
it has to be stopped!
I ask that you please contact your one U.S. Congress Representative and both
of our U.S.
Senators who could require the amendment be removed or significantly edited to
only apply to those convicted of Human Trafficking or International Sex Crimes immediately! The representatives may be on their August
break but their offices are still open and listening to the concerns of their constituents.
We need to make sure they hear from all of us now so HR2848does not proceed to
the House floor for a vote as-is.
you or your loved one don’t plan on traveling internationally, don’t take the
attitude of it doesn’t affect me so why should I care. Any restriction imposed
across the board to RSO’s especially laws restricting movement affect us all
and we need to speak up.