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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. 
 

While the February 16th amendment  is better than the original bill it STILL mandates the Registered Sex Offender (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! 

Most Registered Sex Offenders are parents and many of them are single without a spouse to assist in the day-to-day responsibilities like taking their child to and from school.  

Do we allow complete strangers to submit testimony:
  • In Divorce Hearings?
  • In Custody Hearings?
  • In Restraining Orders?
  • In Commitment Hearings
No…and for good reason! 

Our Rule of Law does not apply to a select segment of society that the majority deems worthy, it applies to ALL of society, including those who are openly despised like Registered Sex Offenders. 

Our courts are supposed to protect the individual liberties of every citizen who comes before it; HB1366 strips that protection completely away. 

Creating laws and procedures only for sex crimes that are driven by visceral revulsion can ONLY result in self-defeating policies, unconstitutional laws and cruel punishments, those might look good in an election brochure but they do not serve justice or our citizens well. 

Every citizen in the Commonwealth deserves a fair and impartial hearing in front of a fair and impartial judge; HB1366 creates a biased, divisive and skewed environment where a fair outcome is impossible because complete strangers have submitted testimony against the parent and the parent is unable to prepare a defense against the submission. 

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. The school superintendent and principle are allowed to oppose a parent’s petition and they usually do. The judge listens to both sides and decides if a true need is evident or not. And if the child changes school district’s the parent must start this process all over again, and the parent could be denied any time.  

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 for RSO parents in Virginia all together because the school districts and the Legislators know that no RSO parent is going to want to humiliate their child with a newspaper advertisement and input from complete strangers. 

Shame on our Legislators for allowing HB1366 to pass through the Virginia Legislature unanimously! 

Shame on Virginia Legislators and Virginia School Districts for allowing a bill that will stop parents from participating in their children’s lives and that publicly stigmatizes children for a government mandated label their parent must bear. 

HB1366 should NOT become law in Virginia!
 
 
News Articles on HB1366:
·       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