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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Restoring Integrity to Virginia Registry Goal #2 (Dissemination of Information) of 28 is Being Shelved But NOT Forgotten!


For the last 7 years my main goal has been to hold back the tide of new, harsher legislation based on myth, hate, fear and prejudice from becoming law in Virginia. Some years I’m successful and some years I haven’t been. 

My secondary goal is to keep all RSO’s and their loved ones up to date on what legal restrictions and regulations they must abide by that change every year so you/they do not inadvertently commit a felony offense. 

And my third goal has been to correct existing issues within the current system and environment as listed on the Legislative Goals/ Action Items page, for a total of 28 Goals. 

Today I updated Goal #2 on that page, Written notice of all Legal Restrictions /Regulations that all Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) must abide by in Virginia. As the Commonwealth makes no effort  to advise Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's) of their legal restrictions and regulations that change yearly when new retroactive laws are passed and if the RSO "guesses" incorrectly they face up to 5 years in prison. An extremely high cost paid for by Virginians for an arbitrary felony. 

If a law (that originally required a fiscal impact) is important enough for the Virginia Legislature to pass, is it NOT equally important to inform those citizens it is intended to manage? 

….AND the restrictions imposed upon RSO’s are NOT intuitive or even reasonable sometimes so how are you supposed to know a regular activity that was legal last year or piece of information that was not required to be registered last year….Is NOW restricted or required and any violation is a new Felony!

States like North Carolina, Illinois & Indiana advise their RSO’s of their legal obligations at every re-registration and Illinois & Kentucky notify their RSO's of new changes in law after their Legislature and Governor have passed them. 

All Virginia and all Federal laws should be available in easily understandable terms to our RSO’s, not just a 44 page legal mumbo-jumbo list of statutes , that the majority of folks can not understand and if they don’t have Internet access they don’t know they even exist!
 
At the 2015 General Assembly session this past January and February  the Virginia State Police (VSP) convinced Senator Dave Marsden if they were to ever create and distribute a list of Do’s and Don’ts that RSO’s shouldn’t be able to claim they never received it or it was outdated as a defense for a failure to register. This demand by the VSP confirmed for me that they never planned to actually distribute the laws to every RSO OR to maintain and distribute updated versions when the laws change retroactively every year. The VSP even drafted up two versions of a brochure in an attempt to convince Virginia lawmakers they were ready to disseminate the laws to Virginia’s RSO’s, the 2nd  version (that was extremely similar to my brochure ) was presented to the GA members.