Monday, January 18, 2016

SB243 Patroned by Senator Petersen “Died” in Today’s Senate Courts of Justice Committee

Virginia Lawmakers Continue to Bury Their Heads
 in the Sand on ANY Proposal that Makes Sense or Might Help "Those" Sex Offenders

Virginia Bill SB243 which proposed raising the Email and Internet registration timeframe from the impossible 30-Minutes to One-Business Day AND to prohibit the registration of Website Usernames and Passwords was “killed” in this mornings Senate Courts of Justice hearing. 

As I stated in an earlier post I did NOT plan on speaking in favor of the Bill, hoping that might help it pass. But sadly a misleading question/statement was made by Chairman/Senator Mark Obenshain that the patron did not address so I felt that I had to respond to it to hopefully keep the Bill alive, that did not pan-out. 

An FYI, no one else in the audience came forward to support this Bill. 

I have reviewed my audio recording of the meeting more than 10 times and I am going to recap portions of the discussion here.

Senator Petersen used the example of hiring a new employee and assigning them an email that they may not have been aware of until later. After a quick explanation by the patron, Chairman Mark Obenshain said, “First my understanding is Federal law requires this information be transmitted immediately”. 

That’s when I stood up knowing if Senator Petersen didn’t know the answer I’d have to speak. 

Chairman Obenshain continued, “I have concern this takes us out of compliance with that Federal requirement” . Unfortunately the patron didn’t know the answer and just said I don’t know in 30 minutes how you can enforce that. 

I approached the podium and said, “I had no plans on speaking about this but..” and Chairman Obenshain replied, “we’ll we don’t want to make ya”. I laughed and got down to business saying, “that is NOT a SORNA compliance requirement and in many States it’s actually 7 Days. So with the 3o-Minute Rule exists with no electronic-means to register so…. Registrants are racing down the Interstate trying to get to a VSP Barracks or local police station before they close and not on weekends or holidays so it’s impossible for them to comply with the current paper-only system” 

Then the State Police Legislative Liaison stepped up to speak. Lt Bradshaw said, “we have 2 concerns, we don’t have a problem with the next Business Day “ he held up an SP236 form saying “that this has to be filled out” (which was odd) and then my recording is too low to relay what else he said to the Committee, he is  a mumbleer. But then Chairman Obenshain wanting to get a tougher stance from the VSP asked Lt. Bradshaw “if you don’t have an issue with the next Business Day how to you confirm that their aren’t multiple changes within that 24 hours when somebody is gonna violate the law and engage in conduct… to prevent, does it not give the State Police some concern you’ve given someone a 24 hour window and they are opening and closing it and provides you a second set of log-in data?” Lt. Bradshaw replied “yes sir I can understand that position but w are not taking a position on it. Chairman Obenshain then asked him “so when you say you don’t have a concern, you don’t have a position on it? And Lt. Bradshaw replied “yes”. 

Then Senator Deeds asked Lt. Bradshaw, “Isn’t true you only have paper registration, there is no electronic way for these people to register?” Lt. Bradshaw replied “yes”. 

Then Senator Edwards asked Lt. Bradshaw, asked about taking consumer account information, do you have any need to take that information?” Lt. Bradshaw mumbled but the answer he gave was a negative. Then Senator Obenshain suggested the patron strike that position on SB243 all together as if it’s an unnecessary request but as we all know from the denied AG Opinion submission brought on by what VSP Lt. Col Kemmler claimed it’s an issue. 

That left just the “30-minute” portion of the Bill as still alive.

The vote by Committee members was straight down party lines. Democrats-Deeds, Edwards, Howell, Lucas, McEachin, and Saslaw with  6 “Yeas” and Republicans- Obenshain, Chafin, Garrett, McDougle, Norment, Reeves, Stanley, Stuart and Sturtevant  with 9 “Nays”.......SB243 died.

Sorry everyone, I don’t know if this proposal ever had a chance or if it was dead-on-arrival, but I will continue to work on getting registration-mandates and registration-availability aligned in Virginia so no one is inadvertently committing a felony for an administrative act. I don’t know if that will be with another Bill in 2017 or not. 

Mary Devoy