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.