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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: