Friday, February 19, 2016

Action Item to Stop HB628-Delegate Rob Bell: It will be Heard by the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Monday February 22, 2016 at 8AM

The upcoming Monday morning hearing will be the last time for the public to speak against HB628.   

What does HB628-Delegate Rob Bell do?

Well part one is already done, publicly posting the Employer Information of RSO’s on the Virginia State Police (VSP) Registry. Which leads me to believe this Bill came at the request of the Virginia State Police (VSP) to intentionally counter SB11, which has passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee with an amendment AND the Full Senate.  

The VSP Registry ALREADY lists the Employer information online so why include it in HB628 as if it’s a new proposal? 

Because when the VSP added the Employer information online back in 2006 or 2007 they did so without ANY Legislative oversight and that's a serious problem!  

This Bill is an attempt to "fix" that SIGNIFICANT overreach that flew under the radar years ago and so Institutes of Higher Education have been included in this Bill so the argument "we already do this" won't kill it in the first Sub-Committee hearing. 

I believe this Bill is a CYA for the VSP. 

Part two of the Bill states to publically post the enrollment information to any college or university of an RSO onto the Virginia State Police Registry. As far as I know this would be a new addition AND it would result in most RSO’s who are enrolled in an institute of higher education to have their admission revoked. 

There are 4 important factors affecting recidivism for Former-Offenders released back into our communities. They are…..Education, Housing, Employment and Family support. 

  • Virginia is one of ONLY 6 States that posts ALL Employer information of Registrants on online.
  • 29 States do not post ANY employer information publicly; five of those States are Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA compliant
  • 10 States post just the address; eight of those are SORNA compliant
  • 5 States post the city, county and/or zip code; three of those are SORNA compliant 

A few back both Texas and Kansas removed ALL employer information from public view, the Texas advocacy group actually used Virginia’s 2010 failed bill as their foundation. 

Any Virginia RSO who is enrolled in a college has registered that information with the Virginia State Police, the VSP has confirmed it’s correct and the school knows that student is an RSO. But if it’s put online the school will now be pressured by parents, students and neighbors to get rid of the RSO student. 

Without a college degree a former-offender can not achieve more than a service job which then means they will never be able to secure safe and consistent housing and if their employment and housing options are always hanging in the balance then they are more likely to lose the support of family. Without employment, housing and family support the chances a former-offender will recidivate are extraordinarily high. This bill ensures those listed on the VSP Registry will fail. 

Other States are studying the efficacy of their Sex Offender Registries and laws, they are removing unproductive and harsh barriers but here in Virginia our Lawmakers willfully ignore all the studies and statistics and they become more resolute on the issue. 

TODAY please Email or call  your Virginia Senator  AND every member of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee (see below) and ask them to vote “NO” on HB628 as it is based on zero facts and hinders a successful reentry back into society for Virginia’s former-offenders.

2016- Senate Courts of Justice Committee
Richmond, VA. During Session
Mark Obenshain     
Ben Chafin
Creigh Deeds
John Edwards
Thomas Garrett Jr.
Janet Howell                       *Also on VSCC
L. Louise Lucas
Ryan McDougle
A. Donald McEachin
Thomas “Tommy” Norment                          *Also on VSCC  
Bryce Reeves              *Also on VSCC
*Also on VCSC
Richard Saslaw
William Stanley
Richard Stuart
Glen Sturtevant

I will be in attendance on Monday morning to not only listen to the debate, but to stand in opposition of this Bill. 

Thank you! 

Mary Devoy