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Monday, March 30, 2015

Virginia Plaintiff Needed: What if We Challenged HB1366 in Court?

 
 
In the last 4 weeks of waiting for Governor McAuliffe to either veto or sign HB1366 into law I was considering a court challenge against the new law. Now that it has been signed by the Governor I’ve circled back with a legal group on doing just this. 

A legal challenge requires a plaintiff, facts showing the injury has or will most certainly occur, and a legal argument (vs. a policy argument) about why the new law is bad.   

In order to challenge any law, you have to have a plaintiff who is someone who has standing to bring a legal claim (i.e., someone who has been or will definitely be “injured” by the law), and you have to show what the injury is and how the injury offends the law.   

To get an injunction against a new law from going into effect, you also have to be able to show that your legal case is so strong that you have a “likelihood of winning on the merits” and that a damages claim would not be sufficient to remedy the harm caused.  

At the moment a civil liberties group is considering this for HB1366. 

But first we need a plaintiff.
 

Update: Virginia Delegate Jeffrey Campbell’s “Recipe for Disaster” Bill HB1366 Has Been Signed by Governor McAuliffe to Become Law in Virginia on July 1st 2015!

 
Virginia Delegate Jeffrey Campbell’s Bill HB1366 Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property; hearing (a deceptive title) was signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe this past weekend. 

I had hoped the statements the ACLU of Virginia made to the media (below) against HB1366 after I single-handedly opposed it in the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee meeting (even after the Virginia Senate amendments, weeks later) would have resonated with our Governor, but they fell on deaf ears. 

Past News Articles on this Bill:
·         Campbell: Sex offender bill would stir up angry mobs, February 12, 2015
·         Should sex offenders be allowed to visit their own child at school? February 3, 2015
·         ACLU questions new sex offender bill, January 20, 2015
·         VIRGINIA ACLU: New sex offender bill 'invitation to throw stones’, January 19, 2015
·         Campbell to co-sponsor bill to keep training center open, January 9, 2015
                Delegate plans to introduce several bills in General Assembly session

Myth, fear, hate, vengeance and prejudice wins out yet again while facts, equal justice under the law, unbiased and fair hearings before a judge and the very foundation of our Rule of Law are not just trampled  but thrown-out-the window by our elected officials because they deem certain citizens “unworthy” and they continue to allow their emotions to write and pass our laws. 

Past Posts, and Action Alerts on this Bill:
·         March 7, 2015
·         February 17, 2015
·         February 11, 2015
·         February 10, 2015
·         February 3, 2015
·         January 29, 2015
·         January 20, 2015
·         January 17, 2015
·         January 1, 2015
·         December 4, 2014 

I tried my best to stop HB1366 from becoming law, I’m sorry everyone! 

This year was my 7th General Assembly session and sadly it was one of my most unsuccessful ones. Right now I feel disappointed and defeated. I can’t believe after 7 years of advocating for you and your families I am still more often than not the only person who stands up in opposition to these hateful bills every year in Richmond.

I oppose bills that have nothing to do with me or my family, but I stand up against them because it’s the right thing to do. And yet, I continue to stand alone (most of the time).

I receive email’s daily from readers complaining about the registry, the restrictions and the collateral damage but when new and harsher laws are being proposed, where are YOU? 

I receive email’s daily from readers asking for my help to get them off the registry, to do a court challenge (pro-bono) or to get them exonerated. Most email’s are about you, what you need, what you want, what I should do to help YOU!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Update: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Signed Robby’s Rule 2015 HB1353 Into Law (and Probably SB1074 Too)

 
Per Virginia Delegate David Ramadan’s Face book page, Governor McAuliffe signed his House version of Robby’s Rule 2015 into law yesterday. It’s not noted in LIS yet but there is always a delay. 

I had hoped the letter sent from the ACLU of Virginia to Governor McAuliffe asking him to veto Robby’s Rule 2015 and the reasons why would have resonated with our Governor, but sadly naming laws that would not have prevented the original crime from occurring after a victim and that will do more harm than good is still the status quo in Virginia. 

Myth, fear, hate, vengeance and prejudice wins out yet again while facts, due process and successful re-entries into our communities are claimed to be important and to matter....... but the proof-is-in-the-pudding. They don't!

I sincerely hope someone who had not committed a crime in 25 or 35 years and is placed on this VSP Supplemental Registry challenges Robby’s Rule as a violation of ex post facto or a denial of due process….and they win......overturning the entire VSP Supplemental Registry. 
 
I tried my best to stop Robby’s Rule 2015 from becoming law, I’m sorry everyone! 

Mary Devoy
  

ACLU Virginia "denounces" McAuliffe's signing of sex registry bill, March 27, 2015


Richmond, VA – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia today condemned Governor McAuliffe’s action on two bills that will create a new sex offender registry, SB 1074 and HB 1353. 

“We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign these bills,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Not only does it create an added punishment beyond any penalty handed down as a part of a criminal conviction, it also fails to provide any rational connection to public safety.
 

Lenore Skenazy on Sex Offender Registries: “I don’t like hysteria and I love safety. Sometimes hysteria doesn’t lead to safety and it leads to cruelty. When you’re afraid, you become desperate and don’t consult the facts”.


Stop the sex-offender registry panic: “A lot of those dots on the map would never hurt your kids” , March 27, 2015
Lenore Skenazy of the "free-range kids" movement is bent on defending those unfairly labeled as threats to children
By Tracy Clark-Flory
 
Lenore Skenazy came to fame for letting her 9-year-old son ride the New York subway home by himself. Or rather, she came to fame by letting him ride the subway home alone and then writing about it for the New York Sun. 

The piece led to an outcry — she was dubbed “America’s worst mom” — which, of course, meant that the essay had to become a book: “Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts With Worry).” In the five years since its publication, the book has inspired a movement among parents who want to give their children the freedom to do things like walk home from school alone. It’s a backlash to our age of “helicopter” and “bubble wrap” parenting. (If you suspect these monikers are exaggerations, consider that a Skenazy devotee recently had five police cars arrive at his house after his 10- and 6-year-old were seen walking alone.) Now Skenazy has a show on the Discovery Life channel, “World’s Worst Mom,” which sees her swooping into homes and coaching overprotective parents in a style reminiscent of the ABC reality-TV show “Suppernanny.” 

Recently, Skenazy has taken on a new, albeit related, cause: reform of the sex offender registry. Clearly, this lady is not afraid of controversy. On Sunday, she held a “Sex Offender Brunch” at her house to introduce “her friends in the press to her friends on the Registry.” One of her guests was Josh Gravens, who at age 12 inappropriately touched his 8-year-old sister and landed on the registry as an adult, and who I interviewed previously for Salon. The materials accompanying her press release contend that the sex offender registry, which was created to “let people identify dangerous individuals nearby…has failed to have any real impact on child safety, and may actually do more harm than good.” She’s effectively flinging open the closet door and saying, “See? There’s no boogeyman in there” (or, if you will, flipping on the lights to offer assurance that the “monster” in the corner is actually just a lamp that made some mistakes when it was younger and means no harm). This is entirely consistent with her “Free-Range Kids” activism, but she’s taking it a step further now, moving beyond just squashing parental fears about stranger danger to helping those who have been unfairly labeled as dangerous strangers.I spoke with Skenazy by phone about how she found her new cause, why the public registry fails to protect kids and the real risks that “stranger danger” ignores.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Virginia SB720 Arrest Photos on Internet; Civil Penalty from Monetary Requirement to Remove Posting Becomes Law But What About Websites Like Gotcha! (Owned by Richmond Times Dispatch) that Post Mug Shots Immediately After an Arrest and Before a Finding of Guilt Occurs?

 
SB720 has been signed into law by Governor McAuliffe 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:  

That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 8.01-40.3 as follows:

§ 8.01-40.3. Unauthorized dissemination, etc., of criminal history record information; civil action. 

Any person who disseminates, publishes, or maintains or causes to be disseminated, published, or maintained the criminal history record information as defined in § 9.1-101 of an individual pertaining to that individual's charge or arrest for a criminal offense and solicits, requests, or accepts money or other thing of value for removing such criminal history record information shall be liable to the individual who is the subject of the information for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and costs. 

This is good news….. but what about publications like Gotcha!? 

Gotcha! was founded in February 2010. It prints the mug shots of not just convicted people but of arrested people who may have charges dropped down the line or who may be found….. not guilty. 

Gotcha! might NOT be “black-mailing” the people they list to be removed from the Internet (as SB720 specifies) but the damage Gotcha! creates because co-workers, employers, landlords, neighbors, parishioners and acquaintances see the mug-shot can never be captured.   
 

Woman Buys Billboard in Campbell County Virginiato Tell Everyone Her Father (Who Resides There) was Convicted of a Pre-VSP Registry Crime, Calling Him a Sex Offender



Video: Woman posts billboard to warn of father's criminal conviction, March 26, 2015
Campbell County, Virginia
 

 
Robby’s Rule 2015 if signed into law by the Governor which is a terrible, terrible proposal wouldn’t go back far enough (July 1980 to July 1884) to satisfy Tamara Martin (1975/76) vengeful goal. If her father has not been accused or convicted of a sexual crime since 1976 then he has made a successful re-entry and demanding a public label for someone I’m guessing is a senior citizen doesn’t help anyone except Ms. Martin’s self-serving goal to humiliate and destroy her father’s ability to survive in a small town.  

Ms. Martin might be protected under the right to free speech but this billboard is harassment, the attempt to defame and an act of vigilantism cloaked under the typical mantra…… the public has a right to know. A claim I’ve been hearing for the last 7 years of advocating for data-driven reform of our registry but yet myth, fear and hate are all too often the genesis and outcome of most of our newly passed laws. 
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Judith Shulevitz: In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas..... Like Sexual Assault......Rape Culture ......and Consent

 
Update:
Since the March 22nd Column (below), two editorials about the first column have been written. 

Mills ’15: Playing it safe — too safe, March 30, 2015

You’re just not as tuned in to the “frightening realities” of the world as this kid is. April 6, 2015
 
 
Original Post:
 
The below editorial is not just about what “self-infantilization” and “helicopter parenting” has done to create an entire generation of young adults who can’t handle real-life and tough discussions but it shows how the campus sexual assault discussion and solutions are being handled by those young adult’s……….and it’s just pathetic! 

I just had to share this editorial. These overly-protected, my feelings and opinions must be validated by you no matter what…….. young people…….. are our future Prosecutors, Psychologists, Lawmakers, Parents, Governors, and Judges and that is beyond terrifying to me......and it should be to you.

Mary
 

In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas
By Judith Shulevitz

KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma. 

So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting. 

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said. 
 

Tod Kelly: Oregon Church Light My Way’s “model for dealing with sex offenders seems to be superior to the disproven one we now use. Its approach of treating non-predatory offenders as individuals to be healed rather than monsters to be ostracized matches the conclusions of both mental health experts and studies that examine sex crime recidivism”.

 
A MUST Read!

How does your church, temple or mosque minister to RSO's?

Mary
 

Oregon's Church for Sex Offenders
The members of Light My Way are dedicated to God, community, and one another. And they’re all registered sex offenders
By Tod Kelly

It is six o’clock on a Sunday evening, and like so many other Americans I’m sitting in a restaurant breaking bread with the local church group. 

The particular group I’m sitting with is part of the Sonrise Church in Hillsboro, Oregon, and the banter that rattles back and forth between them is what you might expect. Praise and critique for Pastor Rocky Wing’s sermon are interwoven with prayers, favorable reviews of the house cheeseburger, friendly gossip about common friends, and strategy pitches for the endless mission of saving souls. 

The group of 12 that crowds around this table made for eight even looks like the platonic ideal of an American church group. There’s the handsome and charismatic pastor, and the impossibly beautiful young married couple sitting next to the betrothed couple hoping to tie the knot later this spring. (All of whom met at church, because of course they did.) There’s the roll-up-your-sleeves blue-collar dad and the cantankerous guy who looks like everyone’s grandfather. There are a couple of white-haired ladies whose lives revolve around the behind-the-curtain inner workings of their house of worship, even as their grown children wonder aloud why they bother. 

Paint a picture of us, right here, right now, and the scattered iPhones and Androids that litter the table are the only clue that we are not some Norman Rockwell painting miraculously sprung to life. 

Indeed, these people are about as ordinary a slice of traditional Americana as one can hope to stumble across in 2015: a small, All-American community of All-American neighbors getting together to share All-American food, sing the praises of Jesus, and share the weight of the various challenges that face today’s modern American registered sex offender.
 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Autistic Virginians are Being Labeled Violent Sex Offenders for Life with No Consideration of Their Mental Diagnosis, Their IQ or Their Social Age Compared to Their Chronological Age

 
In the last 7 years of advocating I have been contacted by at least 12 other parents of Autistic children who are listed on the VSP Registry as Violent Offenders. Below is the latest notice I’ve received from a parent of a 25 year old Virginia male who has Asperger’s Syndrome. 

I’ve posted about RSO’s with autism in the past.
 
Citizens who have been diagnosed with Autism have representation/advocates at the annual Virginia General Assembly every year for therapies, schooling, insurance and new resources but NO ONE EVER discusses what happens when Autistic Virginians are swept up by our criminal or judicial system. No one is concerned about them surviving incarceration, abiding by the rules of VADOC Probation or what a lifetime on the VSP Registry as a Violent Sex Offender really means to them or their family members who look after them.

If anyone has “fallen through the cracks” ( a favorite phrase by many Virginia Legislators and crime victims) in our State it is citizens with Autism who are interrogated, charged, convicted and incarcerated while EVERYONE involved turns a blind eye to their disability and mental capabilities treating them as if they had criminal intent when they did not. 

When our elected officials are raising the punishments, lowering the burden of proof or refusing to add an age gap allowance to proposed bills they need to know that their “rewrites” of Virginia Code is actually sweeping up low IQ, mentally incapable and Autistic citizens who pose no threat to society as Lifetime Violent Sex Offenders in the Commonwealth.  

Mary Devoy
 

We have a 25yr old (RSO since 2011) son who is intellectually disabled (Autism: Asperger’s Syndrome) since birth who is registered as a Violent Sex Offender (no violence ever took place).  Our nightmare is below:

Background on our son:  Our son was born on ______ 1990, there was difficulty during birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and cut of oxygen to the brain.  Age six, he was diagnosed as "Developmentally Delayed" while attending school.  Age eight, diagnosis changed to "Autistic" by the Autism Expert employed by the Loudoun County School.  He received Special Education services for his entire time in the school system.  He received a high school diploma but, we have recently discovered that he did not achieve the state requirements for a regular high school diploma but was given one anyway.  He has an extremely low IQ (75-81), margin of error +/- 9.  Additionally, his Psychological evaluation at age 18 indicated "he was not ready for the adult world."  I think it is safe to assume his mental age was not at his chronological age. 
 

Our son was arrested in Loudoun County, VA on 26 Mar 10, for Aggravated Sexual Battery.  Within 30 seconds of applying the handcuffs, I told the arresting officer he was Autistic, he had a lawyer, and do not ask him any questions.  We are his advocates and we were not allowed to be involved any where in the process that followed. 
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fact Checker Gives Four Pinocchio’s to NBC Nightly News Claim of 58,000 children are ‘Abducted’ Each Year Which is Also Listed as a “Key Fact” by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Another “Fishy” Statistic that the Public Would Believe and Legislators Would Most Likely Repeat to Create Hype and Fear for New Legislation, Bigger Registries and More Scarlet Letters.


Note: FBI data on abductions by a stranger in a single year is 332.
 

Fact Checker: 58,000 children ‘abducted’ a year: yet another fishy statistic, March 17, 2015
By Glenn Kessler

A frustrated reader wrote The Fact Checker concerning a statement that had appeared during a NBC Nightly News report on Jan. 16:  “According to the FBI’s latest study, more than 58,000 kids were abducted by non-relatives in one year.” 

The reader had written to the network complaining about the use of the statistic, with copious research about its failings, but had never received a response. So he asked The Fact Checker to call attention to the misuse of this statistic, as we had recently done on such claims as women having only 10 percent of worldwide income or that 1,800 college students die a year from “alcohol-related causes.” 
 

Monday, March 16, 2015

61 Year Old Front Royal Virginia Woman Found Guilty of Harassing 43 Year Old Registered Sex Offender, Fined $1,500 of a Possible $2,500 Penalty and Claims She Will Appeal

 
Misusing VSP Registry information to harass or intimate an RSO in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor (§ 9.1-918 -Misuse of registry information; penalty) in most States it is a felony. And it should be in the Commonwealth! 

Mary Devoy
 
Va. woman found guilty of harassing convicted sex offender, March 16, 2015

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — A Front Royal woman faces a $1,500 fine after being found guilty of harassing a convicted sex offender.

A Warren County Circuit Court jury convicted 61-year-old Delores Ann Harris on a charge of misusing information from Virginia’s sex offender registry on Friday. 

Harris tells The Northern Virginia Daily (http://bit.ly/1x7YC2k) that she will appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals. She had appealed an earlier conviction in general district court to circuit court. 

She was accused of harassing 43-year-old Scott Costello. Costello has been on the sex offender registry since 1997 following a conviction on an aggravated sexual battery charge. 
 
Harris testified during the trial that she only wanted to protect her granddaughter and herself. She and Costello formerly lived in the same apartment building.
 

March 16, 2015: ACLU of Virginia Action Alert for Governor McAuliffe to Veto Robby’s Rule SB1074 and HB1353

 
Past Posts, Editorials and Action Items on Robby’s Rule 2015 from this blog:
·         March 7, 2015
·         February 20, 2015
·         February 17, 2015
·         February 13, 2015.2
·         February 13, 2015.1
·         January 29, 2015
·         January 20, 2015
·         January 17, 2015
·         January 14, 2015
·         January 7, 2015
·         January 1, 2015
·         December 2, 2014

Taken from an ACLU of Virginia Advocacy 03/16/15 Email Alert:

The 2015 General Assembly isn’t over yet.  Last Friday, we sent letters to Governor McAuliffe urging him to sign, amend, or veto certain legislation passed during the legislative session.  The Governor has until midnight on March 29th to act.  Here’s what we asked him to do: 

Veto legislation to expand the sex offender registry.  SB1074 and HB1353 would mandate the creation of a supplemental sex offender registry on the Virginia State Police website that does nothing to make us or our kids safer and lacks basic safeguards to ensure that innocent Virginians are not labeled as sex offenders. 

Want to make your voice heard during this process?  Take action here.   
 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

14 Year Old Fairfax Virginia Male Will Become a Lifetime Violent Sex Offender Because Our Laws Label Him a Perpetrator Even Though He Is Legally Too Young to Consent to Sex Acts with an Older Teen

 
This 14 year old (see below article) needs therapy and treatment, NOT to spend the next 2-15 years in a juvenile detention facility/adult prison plus a lifetime on the VSP Virginia Sex Offender Registry.  

He very well might have been the victim of sexual abuse himself and was reenacting what had been done to him. 

But if that turns out to be the case, none of it will matter because in Virginia a 14 year old that has committed a sexual offense will be institutionalized and then mostly will be labeled a Violent Sex Offender for the rest of their life.  

If he’s institutionalized his chances of becoming a sexual assault/rape victim (http://goo.gl/ZfV3dU , http://goo.gl/40IqPp) in the juvenile or adult facility are extremely high and in fact such a sentence makes him more likely to be a dangerous adult instead of the treatable juvenile that he is today. 

If he is convicted this young male will be banished from ever residing with his parents as his younger brother was a victim, which means he’ll have NO family support. 

He’ll have no high school diploma, no college education. 

He will receive no job skills and will never have a “career”. 

He will have no social skills whatsoever. 

He will have extreme difficulties in securing housing or employment. 

He’ll be under lengthy VA-DOC supervision, he’ll have to pay for court-order therapy sessions, maybe court-ordered polygraphs or GPS monitoring, he’ll probably be forbidden from having Internet access, but required to find employment, housing and pay court fines.   

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Yes Virginia, Teenage RSO's Have a Right to an Education Too!


 
A 13 year old Virginia boy is required to register as a public Sex Offender in 2010 and now in 2015 as an 18 year old high school student WTVR runs a story that he’s allowed to continue his education in Hanover County (my county) as if he shouldn't.

WTVR is known for running “Sex Offender” and Sexual Predator” sensational stories, probably more than any other Virginia news station in the Commonwealth, it seems they try to stir up issues, conflicts and “news”. 

This young man needs a high school diploma because the majority of Virginia colleges and universities will deny him admission because of the public label of Sex Offender. He will never have a career, just a job to provide for himself and a future family. 

If Virginia changed current law to notify all parents of RSO 's as enrolled students, the chances that the RSO student would be forced to drop out of school before receiving their a high school diploma are extremely high and a successful future for the RSO would be extremely low! 

Leave this young man alone WTVR! 
 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Action Item: Contact the Virginia Administration to Veto HB1366 Delegate Campbell’s “Recipe for Disaster Bill” Against RSO Parents Who Are Petitioning the Court to Be Allowed to Take Their Own Children To and From School


1)     Please contact Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe immediately asking him not to sign HB1366 into law. https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/

2)    Please email Governor Terry McAuliffe’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, policy directors and policy advisors:
3)    Please email Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, the 3 Deputy Secretaries and his Policy Assistant asking them to stop Governor McAuliffe from signing HB1366 into law:
HB1366 History:
  1. January 19, 2015 passed out of House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee 11-0 after public comment was heard. Not one Delegate asked any questions or raised any concerns about this bill.
  2. January 28, 2015 passed out of House Courts of Justice Full Committee 21-0. Not one Delegate asked any questions or raised any concerns about this bill.
  3. February 3, 2015 passed through the Virginia House 98-0.
  4. February 11, 2015 public comment was heard then possible amendments were suggested.
  5. February 16, 2015 passed out of Senate Courts of Justice Committee 13-0 w/ amendment.
                                 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.
  1. February 13, 2015 passed through the Virginia Senate 38-0.
  2. Heads to the Governor to be signed into law, vetoed or amended!
The February 16th amendment means that the public will not show up in person to court to oppose the parent’s petition but they can submit written testimony for the judge and Commonwealth Attorney to review and use as a reason to rule against the parent. When the amendment was submitted Senator McEachin noted during the meeting that the petitioner should be able to prepare a defense for any submitted public testimony, but then no  text was added to the amendment to allow this.