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Friday, February 27, 2015

Under the Guise: 19 Year Old Virginia Male Convicted By Virginia Statute That is Supposed to Catch Dangerous Predators Not Curious Teens

 
Today I received a Virginia Attorney General email announcement about the successful passage and bipartisan support of SB919 it said that this bill’s passage would  “help protect Virginia children from online exploitation and to allow law enforcement to effectively investigate crimes involving child pornography, child exploitation, and human trafficking. The bills, which have the support of Governor Terry McAuliffe's Cyber Security Commission, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia's Internet Crimes Against Children centers, and the National Association to Protect Children, will ensure that child predators are not tipped off to ongoing investigations and will help law enforcement quickly remove children from dangerous exploitative situations”. You can read the full news release at the link above.
Thirty minutes later I received a plea from a mother of a 19 year old son who has come face-to-face with Virginia’s child pornography statutes, investigators, charges and mandatory minimums. I have removed the specific location of this particular case from the mother’s plea (see below) because it could be ANY 19 year old male anywhere in the Commonwealth.
I want readers (including naysayers, Victims Advocates and the media) to understand just how Virginia is charging, convicting and sentencing the possession, reproduction and distribution of child pornography. Virginia lawmakers, Attorney General’s and Governors would claim that young men who are looking at age appropriate images found on-line for free are not being sent to prison and labeled as lifelong Violent Sex Offenders, but they are.

Chrysanthi Leon: HR515 Federal International Megan’s Law is Misguided Legislation That Won’t Protect Children

 
The below editorial is written by Chrysanthi Leon she is associate professor of sociology and criminal justice and women and gender studies at the University of Delaware and author of Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles: Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America a great book that I read in 2011. 

HR515, the 2015 version of The International Megan’s Law (IML) is sponsored (as always) by New Jersey Representative Christopher Smith. It was introduced on January 22, 2015 and passed the U.S. House (Congress) on January 26, 2015 with a voice-vote, so there is NO record of who voted yes or no. No surprise it was fast-tracked through the House as the 2013/2014 version did pass the House. 

Ms. Leon references Senator Chris Coons (Delaware) in her editorial of HR515 because he is her U.S. Representative in Congress. 
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Virginia House Backs State Subpoenas to Combat Child Porn Even Though it May Violate the 4th Amendment

 
This article is in reference to SB919 patroned by Senator Jennifer Wexton and NO Co-Patrons. It passed the Virginia Senate (39-Y 1-N) back on January 22, 2015. 

ACLU of Virginia where are you?  

Mary
 

Va. House backs state subpoenas to combat child porn, February 25, 2015
By Markus Schmidt

By a 97-1 vote, the House of Delegates on Wednesday passed a Senate measure allowing the state to issue administrative subpoenas - which may be sealed if necessary - to obtain records from computer service providers as part of child pornography, abduction and prostitution crime investigations. 

"We've prosecuted or investigated hundreds of these cases and nearly all of them start with an administrative subpoena to find out who is distributing or producing the child pornography and to direct the investigation," said Michael Kelly, spokesman for the Attorney General's Office, the driving force behind Senate Bill 919. 
 

Hypocrisy in America: An Ex-Felon Convicted of Drug Manufacturing and Delivery Wins the Lottery and Everyone Says He Deserves it, He’s Paid His Debt to Society. A Registered Sex Offender Wins the Lottery and Everyone Says Take the Jackpot Away From Him and Hey, How About Making it Illegal for an RSO to Win a Large Lottery Jackpot in the Future.

A man who was convicted in 1994 of manufacturing and delivering cocaine, he served 11/12 years of a 25 year sentence in prison has come forward as the single winner of the largest Illinois lottery prize (see articles below) . 

  1. Does EVERY news article say he’s a convicted felon or Drug manufacturer?
  2. Are people up in arms about an ex-felon winning the largest lottery jackpot in their state?
  3. Do the people of Illinois want the jackpot revoked?
  4. Are attorneys and lawmakers asking to freeze his winnings so that anyone previously harmed by his 21 year old crime can take his winnings as restitution?
  5. Are reporters on news stations condemning him for his 1994 conviction or for being allowed to keep this jackpot?
No !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

So why can a convicted drug dealer win a lottery in the U.S. and receive nothing but praise and good wishes but when someone convicted of a sex crime wins a lottery (http://goo.gl/zGjFQ3) everyone jumps on the hate-bandwagon, condemning him, saying he doesn’t’ deserve it, daring anyone who was affected by his past crime to come forward and take the prize OR contemplating that it should be illegal for an ex-felon to even win the lottery? 

All of these examples have happened when Registered Sex Offenders have won lotteries in the U.S. (see link above). 
 

Can a Child Be a Sex Offender?

Photography by Brian L. Frank for OZY.
Great article about Nicole Pittman and her advocacy! 

We’ve spoken a few times over the years; I admire all she does for juveniles in the U.S. 

Mary
 

Can a Child Be a Sex Offender?
By Meghan Walsh 

Sitting down with someone branded a child sex offender wasn’t ever how Nicole Pittman imagined she’d be spending her days. Yet in doing that, she’s discovered how nuanced the world of crime and law can be.  

She remembers, for example, sharing coffee a few years ago in downtown Dallas with Josh Gravens, who was given the title of sex offender when he was 13 years old after he touched his younger sister. There was no accusation of penetration, and Gravens says it was more about curiosity than anything else. But it was enough for the state to stick him in juvenile detention, and enough to keep his name on a public registry for 14 years, which — by the time he heard from Pittman — had been more than half his life. 

“She was the first person who told me I wasn’t a sex offender,” recalls Gravens, who now works in public policy as a criminal justice advocate.

Lawyers, of course, are supposed to defend people, good and bad. But Pittman has turned her work into a full-time crusade. Her goal: to reveal the system for supposed sexual predators as punitive and misguided — and in need of change. To some, her tale recalls past efforts to lighten overly harsh drug-conviction sentencing. Only in this case, this justice-system Joan of Arc favors bejeweled horn-rimmed glasses, a nose ring and Converse sneakers.  

Since the late ’80s, after America decided to get “tough on crime,” states have been placing children accused of crimes — ranging from touching another child’s genitalia over clothing to rape — in a category alongside 45-year-old pedophiles, for example. And with unfortunate repercussions: Some are required to post in their front windows signs that read, “Sex Offender Lives Here.” Others are prohibited from going anyplace where kids congregate, which means they can’t go to schools or, in some cases, even live at home with their families anymore. They are an isolated population that experiences high rates of unemployment, depression and suicide. 
 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Virginia is In Minority (1 of only 11 states) with No Legislative Video, Audio Archives


Update: 

In Virginia General Assembly, many bills die by stealth, February 26, 2015
 

Original Post:

Yep, for 6 out of the last 7 session I’ve recorded the audio of every Committee hearing I’ve attended and testified at. (See article below) 

This year I bought the cheapest GoPro Camera I could find and a small tripod planning on videoing each hearing and uploading it to this website but based on the only location video cameras were allowed to be set-up in the Committee rooms and the short record time on my inexpensive camera, that didn’t pan out this year. 

Virginia shouldn’t just archive the video of chamber/floor sessions on-line but they should record every Committee hearing where public testimony is heard, stream it live and archive it on-line by end of business, everyday of session! 

Citizens across the Commonwealth that can't travel the Richmond should be able to watch proposed legislation "die" and "move forward" as it is happening and after the fact days, weeks or months later.  

Transparency!  Accountability!  Open Government!  Integrity! 

Come on Virginia!

Mary
 

Va. in minority with no legislative video, audio archives, February 24, 2015
By Patrick Wilson

Waldo Jaquith started posting video of state House and Senate floor sessions on his website as a hobby around 2007 or 2008. 

"I thought I'd have to do this for a year or two and then the General Assembly would say, 'Look, this guy can do it in his spare time. Maybe we should just put up a video ourselves.' " 

Seven years later, Jaquith is still doing it. The state is not. And that puts Virginia in the minority.

The commonwealth is one of only 11 states that don't offer the public archived video or audio of legislative floor proceedings, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

Viewers on the General Assembly's website can watch a live feed of the House of Delegates and Senate, but once it's over, the video is gone.

"It doesn't make a bit of sense," said Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who has tried and failed several times in recent years to convince the legislature to pay for posting the video online. "You would think that it would not be a big deal." 

In an era when Congress and many local governments, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake, provide constituents with live coverage and online access to video of past meetings, some activist groups and lawmakers say the General Assembly needs to be more open. 

Thirty-nine states produce live webcasts or audio of some or all committee hearings, and 33 states provide an online archive of past hearings. 

Virginia doesn't record or broadcast legislative committee hearings, where testimony on bills is presented. If a bill is discussed and killed during a committee hearing, a citizen would have to be present to hear and see what happened.  

There are no transcripts made other than committees working on legislative district boundaries.
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Virginia’s Sexually Violent Predator Program: Today, four to five people are admitted each month, and about 30 are released each year with 367 currently being held. Those who were discharged last year were held an average of three years and nine months, at a cost of $300 a day per resident.



Facility holds sex offenders who've served their time, February 23, 2015
By Margaret Matray

Rodney Bernard Jones has a history of grabbing young women's buttocks. 

A clinical psychologist said the 52-year-old felon has a mental disorder that makes it difficult to control his predatory behavior and "makes him likely to engage in sexually violent acts," according to court documents. 

After nearly 15 years in prison for sex assault, Jones was scheduled to be released April 1. 

But the state attorney general wants him to be civilly committed to a state facility that houses sexually violent predators after they've served their time. 

Once again, Jones must go before a judge or jury who will decide his fate. 

Each year, an average of 132 inmates like Jones are evaluated for potential commitment. Of the cases the attorney general brings before the court, an estimated 90 percent end up being admitted to the state facility in central Virginia, according to state figures.
 

Sexual Assault Rules: “All too often, outrage at heinous crimes become a justification for shortcuts in our adjudicatory process”

 
Penn Law Profs Revolt Over Sex Assault Rules, February 23, 2015
By Emily Shire

Due process is not “window dressing,” the professors argue. It’s necessary to establish a process’s legitimacy.

When the White House announced a new national campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses last year, the treatment of victims was the chief concern. But now, after a more than a year filled with a flurry of campus reforms, some university faculty are increasingly worried about a different party: the accused.

The rights of students accused of sexual assault are increasingly scrutinized as colleges begin to implement new reforms to make it easier to report and respond to sexual assault. Decades of university failure to care for sexual assault victims has understandably produced a backlash, but there is growing concern that due process for the accused may be the baby tossed out with the bath water.

Just last week, 16 professors at the University of Pennsylvania Law School released an open letter criticizing the school’s newly revised sexual assault policy. Of prime concern in the exhaustive critique were insufficient procedures to ensure due process and a fair trial for students accused of sexual assault.

“We do not believe that providing justice for victims of sexual assault requires subordinating so many protections long deemed necessary to protect from injustice those accused of serious offenses,” states the letter, which was authored by nearly one-third of the tenured law faculty. It goes on to argue that the new policies, which went into effect on Feb. 1, have “sacrificed the traditional safeguards that accompany traditional lawmaking procedures.”

Friday, February 20, 2015

Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial Says Robby’s Rule 2015 SB1074/HB1353 is a Bad Idea!


 
There is no author of this great and short editorial against Robby’s Rule 2015 HB1353 and SB1074 . 

Thank you Richmond Times Dispatch, you are 100% correct about this proposal! 

Mary
 

Sex offender registry: Bad idea

Virginia lawmakers introduce many bad ideas, but they also wisely dispense with a good proportion of them. One of those that has escaped the ax comes from state Sen. Ryan McDougle, and would establish a supplemental sex-offender registry. 

The supplemental registry, which would be published on the State Police website, would include the names of persons who committed various offenses between 1980 and 1994. It would include the location and nature of the offense, and the offender’s date of birth — but no mug shots or other identifying information. 

Imposing a new, ex post facto penalty for decades-old crimes raises a serious due-process issue. Granted, many people don’t care about the effect on the guilty. So consider the effect on the innocent. 

Suppose a person named Bob Smith, born in 1949, committed a sex crime in 1982. Once his name appears in the supplemental registry, any Virginia resident named Bob Smith who is anywhere near retirement age could be mistaken for a sex offender. It wouldn’t matter if the original offender was dead, or had moved out of state, or was serving a prison sentence of life without parole. The legislation makes no exceptions. 

Astoundingly, the bill has passed both houses of the General Assembly. Apparently legislators expect the governor to prevent this terrible proposal from becoming law. Apparently he is going to have to.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lauren Book (Lauren’s Kids) Might Run for Florida Senate and Her Father Ron Book Lobbyist to GEO Group, Candidate Strategist and the Reason Miami’s Registered Sex Offenders Had Only One Legal Place in the Entire City to Live, Under the Julia Tuttle Causeway Has the Millions to Guarantee a Win


Update:

Lauren Book announces bid for Fort Lauderdale Senate seat, August 31, 2015

Original Post: 

The below article is from Florida, but I have followed Lauren Book and especially her father Ron Book for years. 
He is not only the one responsible for the homeless Sex Offenders who lived under the Julia Tuttle causeway but he got them removed from the bridge promising to find them homes and after paying for hotel rooms for a few months turned them back out onto the streets because every option for a home turned out to be illegal and Mr. Book had in the interim made the location under the causeway illegal for them to return to. 

Ron Book is also a lobbyist for GEO Group a private prison company that profits from not only incarceration but the civil commitment of Sexually Violent Predators all while his daughter Lauren gets additional anti-Sex Offender legislation passed every year in Florida. 

Oh, and Ron Book/GEO Group has lobbied here in Virginia for privatization of our prisons and our SVP civil commitment program.  

The below is well worth a read. It’s the perfect example of how a “victim” turns their anger and vengeance into a money making machine all under the guise of “to save one child” passing laws at one end and profiting from the convictions and commitments at the other end and no one wants to dare question the goings on….. until this article.

Here are some other articles on Ron and Lauren Book:

Mary Devoy
 

As Lauren Book Hints at Run, Some Question if Her Charity Could Become Political Tool, February 18, 2015
By Deirdra Funcheon

As she climbed the hill leading to Florida's State Capitol last spring, Lauren Book broke from a walk into a run. The 29-year-old blonde with a pink ribbon wrapped around her ponytail raised both arms in the air and flashed a huge smile as she crossed the finish line. Her father, Ron Book, perhaps the most influential lobbyist in Florida, trotted beside her in running shorts.

Lauren had walked 1,500 miles, having started in Key West 42 days earlier on a mission to bring attention to childhood sexual abuse. 
 

When she trekked through South Florida, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called her an "angel." When she was in Orlando, abuse survivors fought back tears as they joined her.  

During a post-walk press conference on the Capitol steps, Fort Walton Beach Republican Representative Matt Gaetz bragged about freshly-passed legal reforms that would crack down on sex offenders - ideas "that were on Lauren's mind, that ended up on my legal pad, that are now in the laws of Florida." When it was Governor Rick Scott's turn to speak, he called them laws "that I had the honor to sign."  

A year later, Nancy Smith, executive editor of the Sunshine State News, which covers Florida politics, remembers the spectacle. "Cabinet members don't get that kind of coverage, that kind of interest... I don't understand how in four or five years, one person gets to this level with a charity."
 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Action Item and Update on Delegate Campbell’s HB1366 “Recipe for Disaster Bill”

 
Update: 


On February 18th HB1366  passed the Virginia Senate 38-0 (2 Senators aren't in attendance due to medical issues), in an uncontested “block vote”  it now heads to Governor McAuliffe to be signed into law, amended or vetoed.
 

Original Post:
 

Last Wednesday February 11, 2015 I posted that a vote for HB1366  was postponed in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee until Monday February 16, 2015 (yesterday). 

As expected public comment was not allowed yesterday but NOT expected after the smart and enlightening discussions last Wednesday by the Committee members (click February 11th link above for specifics) they voted 13-0 to move HB1366 onto the Senate floor for a vote with this amendment:
                                1. Line 34, engrossed, after 8.01-324.
                                             strike
                                             the remainder of the line and through petition. on line 35
                                             insert
The newspaper notice shall contain a provision stating that written comments regarding the petition may be submitted to the clerk of court at least five days prior to the hearing. 

This change means that the public will not show up in person to oppose the parent’s petition but can submit written testimony for the judge to review. 

When this amendment was submitted yesterday Senator McEachin noted that the petitioner needs to be able to prepare a defense for any submitted public testimony, I don’t believe the amendment allows for that. 

While yesterday’s amendment  is better than the original bill it STILL mandates the RSO parent must pay for a newspaper advertisement for 2 weeks straight announcing their petition to the public a financial burden that is NOT imposed upon and other Virginian who is filing a court proceeding. This means the name of the Registered Offender will be in the newspaper (as no process has been laid out ahead of time, who knows perhaps their photo from their VSP posting will be too) so their child WILL suffer greatly from public backlash. 
 

Some Good News on SB1374!

 
Back on February 14, 2015 I posted that SB1374 would be heard by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee on February 16, 2015 (yesterday). 

The statement that I made to the Committee is below for anyone who is interested. 

Good news SB1374 Sex offender registry; failure of defendant to register patroned by Senator Dave Marsden is DEAD for 2015! 

The discussion in Committee went really well and they touched a bit on what my Senate argument had been (I can’t give the exact same statement in both chambers I have to rewrite if a bill makes it to the second chamber) but in the end it was the possibility of creating other unintended defense strategies for defendants if the change in code was made for this one issue. 

If that’s what the Delegates needed to kill the bill, that’s fine with me! 

Mary
 

Mr. Chairman Committee Members, 

For a very brief moment this weekend….. I considered flip-flopping on this bill.   

If I supported this proposal …..it would most likely die…..But I can not sell my soul just to get the outcome I desire. This bill should die on its merits. 

The Virginia State Police has opposed legislation 5 times that would have required them to produce, disperse and update a list of legal requirements to our 21,000+ Registered Sex Offenders. They object to be required by statute to disseminate the ever changing legal restrictions even though they are the official manager and monitor of our RSO’s. 

This year…… the VSP wants to double down….with this bill………for a future brochure that they’ve only drafted…….a brochure that they are under NO obligation to disperse….and a brochure that they are NOT required to update when new laws take effect every July.
 

Action Item and Update on Robby’s Rule 2015: HB1353 Was on Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee Agenda Yesterday and Yet They Did NOT Discuss the Bill OR Allow Public Comment

 
Update:

On February 18th HB1353 passed the Virginia Senate 38-0 (2 Senators are in attendance due to medical issues),  in an uncontested “block vote” it now heads to Governor McAuliffe to be signed into law, amended or vetoed.

Original Post:
 

Virginia Robby’s’ Rule 2015 HB1353 (House version) was on yesterdays Senate Courts of Justice Committee agenda. 

This would have been the LAST time the public could have spoken ‘for’ or ‘against’ the bill. 

But instead the Senate Courts of Justice Committee took a large number of identical (House to Senate) bills and incorporated them, which did not allow for public comment. 

This happened with HB1353 Robby’s Rule. 

The sponsor Delegate Ramadan didn’t even come to the hearing to present his bill so it was already common knowledge amongst the Legislators that HB1353 would NOT be discussed and public comment would NOT be allowed. So why was it even on the agenda?

THIS is the VERY reason the public needs to show up in-person to speak when a bill is being heard in the first chamber instead of waiting to see if it makes it to the second chamber!

If there is a similar (companion) bill in the opposite chamber SB1074 and they both pass the first chambers it appears the Virginia Legislature has taken the attitude that a second discussion and public comment is NOT necessary. 
 
A clause has been added to both versions of Robby’s Rule for funding which I think is totally unnecessary based on the cost of the bill so it makes me wonder if this will allow for an “out” so that Robby’s Rule could fail in the end even though almost every Delegate and Senator voted for it. Here is the clause:
 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Roanoke Rescue Mission is the Only Homeless Shelter from Interstate 64 south to the North Carolina Border that Allows Sex Offenders

 
Mission's growing ministry to homeless leaves some neighbors losing hope; trust, February 15, 2015
By Matt Chittum

Somebody had been sleeping with the dead again. 

In the center of the old Roanoke City Cemetery on Tazewell Avenue Southeast, a mattress pad sprawled across the final resting place of George and Beulah Bell. One corner of a blue and white comforter was peeled back, leaving the makeshift bed unmade.

The frozen dregs of a cup of 7-Eleven store coffee rested on a nearby headstone. Amy Morgan, president of the Belmont Neighborhood Association, paused over the bedding. It had been 11 degrees the night before. 

“It can’t stay here,” she said suddenly, sweeping the bedding up in two arms. “I’ve worked too hard for this neighborhood.” 

She hauled the linens over to a dumpster at the rear of the Roanoke Rescue Mission, where hundreds of homeless people sleep in warm beds nightly — nearly 2,700 of them last year, including more than 500 children. 

The problem for Morgan and her neighbors is not the hundreds who get a hand up from the mission. It’s those she says come for a handout and linger in the neighborhood, enabled by free meals at the mission to spend their money on Steel Reserve lager beer by the quart, sleep in the woods, urinate in public, and litter the streets. It’s the more than 30 registered sex offenders who list the Rescue Mission as their home or work address. 

The Rescue Mission is an asset to those it aids, Morgan knows, and it enjoys broad community support from thousands of volunteers and donors who give millions. 

“It’s about that feel-good feeling when they serve soup,” Morgan said. “I challenge anybody to come down here and help clean up the neighborhood and see the other side of homelessness. And you won’t walk away with that feel-good feeling.”
 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Action Item for SB1374: Scheduled to be Heard by House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee Monday February 16th in the Afternoon

 
SB1374 Sex offender registry; failure of defendant to register patroned by Senator Dave Marsden is scheduled to be heard by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+sub+H080010216  this coming Monday (President’s Day) February 16th  ½ hour after adjournment (anywhere between 1PM and 5PM).  

This will be the last time the public can speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ SB1374. 

Past Posts on This Bill:
·         February 2, 2015
·         February 1, 2015
·         January 20, 2015 

SB1374 benefits only one entity, and it’s not our 20,300+ RSO’s who are trying to remain compliant it’s the Virginia State Police who barely know the restrictions and regulations themselves and only assist our RSO’s today when they are prompted by an RSO who is attempting to remain compliant. 

The VSP asked Senator Marsden for this bill but yet it’s being sold as a positive to help our RSO, it does NOT help the RSO’s! 

SB1374 will increase arbitrary felonies against RSO’s who had no intent to commit a crime, for an act that isn’t a crime for other citizens. SB1374 will result in more prosecutions, a higher recidivism rate and more citizens being incarcerated.

Below is the contact information for every Delegate on the Full Courts of Justice Committee.
 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Open Government? SB1074 Never Went to House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee OR Full Committee for Public Comment and it Yet it Was Sent to the House Floor and Passed Today 92-3

 
How could Robby's Rule SB1074 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+sum+SB1074 by-pass the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee all together? 

It went to House Appropriations even though it has almost no cost and then it went directly to the House floor for a vote,  it passed the House today 92-3. 

Breakdown by Delegate: 

YEAS--Adams, Albo, Anderson, Austin, BaCote, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Bloxom, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Cole, Cox, Davis, DeSteph, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Futrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Herring, Hester, Hodges, Hugo, Ingram, James, Joannou, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Krupicka, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lindsey, Lingamfelter, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Mason, Massie, McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, Morrissey, Murphy, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter, Preston, Ramadan, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Scott, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Sullivan, Taylor, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Mr. Speaker--92 

NAYS--Hope, Rasoul, Surovell--3 

ABSTENTIONS--0 

NOT VOTING--Fowler, Kory, Ransone, Webert, Yost--5 

SB1074 should have gone to House Courts of Justice Committee BEFORE Appropriations so the public could speak 'for' or 'against' it and it never did! 

This isn't open government! 

Now, SB1074 heads to Governor Terry McAulliffe to be signed into law, amended or vetoed. 

Please email the Governor asking him not to sign SB1074 (Robby’s Rule) into law. He can either veto it or take no action at all allowing it to die. https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/ 

Mary

Robby’s Rule (HB1353-Ramadan and SB1074-McDougle/Wexton) Continues a Historical Trend in America of Bad Legislation Named After a Victim; So No Virginia Lawmaker Would Dare Question or Vote Against it.

 
 
HB1353  AKA “Robby’s Rule” which passed through the Virginia House with a vote of 93 Yeas – 6 Nays 

Breakdown by Delegate: 

YEAS--Adams, Albo, Anderson, Austin, BaCote, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Bloxom, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Cole, Cox, Davis, DeSteph, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Futrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Herring, Hester, Hodges, Hugo, Ingram, James, Joannou, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lindsey, Lingamfelter, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Mason, Massie, McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, Morrissey, Murphy, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter, Preston, Ramadan, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Scott, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Taylor, Torian, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker--93 

NAYS--Hope, Kory, Krupicka, Rasoul, Sullivan, Surovell--6. 

ABSTENTIONS--0.  

NOT VOTING--Toscano--1 

 …. is scheduled to be heard by the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee this coming Monday February 16th (President’s Day) at 8AM. 

This will be the last time public comment will be heard on HB1353. 

I wrote an editorial on the two (House and Senate) versions of Robby’s Rule 2015 last week and sent it to every Virginia newspaper; none of them chose to run it. 

So I’m posting it here today.
 
Mary
 

Legislators in America have known for a very long time that if they name a bill (proposed legislation) after a victim of a crime to memorialize them, that it’s almost guaranteed to become law. 

We’ve had the Jacob Wetterling Act, the Adam Walsh Act, Megan’s Law, Jessica’s Law, Dru’s Law and  Chelsea’s Law  just to name a few. Then there are Amber Alerts and Code Adam for lost children in stores.  

When a name is attached to a law it stirs up deep emotion of wanting to honor that victim, to honor their family members and it evokes mantras of “never again”, “if it saves one child” and “this is common sense legislation” claims and stances no lawmaker would ever argue against. To vote against a proposal bearing the name of a victim would be heartless, it would dishonor their memory and it would make the crime they suffered through meaningless.  

When a bill named after a victim is heard in House or Senate Committees one of two outcomes usually occur.