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.
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.
the remainder of the line and through petition. on line 35
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.
HB1366 unintentionally or intentionally punishes the children of Virginia’s 21,000+ RSO’s and that should never be an acceptable outcome of legislation in the Commonwealth!
The current petition process for RSO parents and grandparents works extremely well because it was carefully crafted years ago to both protect the pubic while allowing for the parent to be an active participant in their children’s lives.
HB1366 has NOT been carefully crafted and it publicly shames the children of our RSO’s.
This bill is NOT about public safety and it is NOT about the public’s right to know who is on school property.
What this bill is REALLY about is stopping the petition process all together in
parent is going to want to humiliate their child with a newspaper
Shame on the Commonwealth for allowing a bill to stop parents from participating in their children’s lives and that publically stigmatizes children for a label their parent has been mandated to bear.
Please email all 40 Virginia Senators immediately asking them to vote ‘No” on HB1366 when it comes before them
Campbell: Sex offender bill would stir up angry mobs, February 15, 2015