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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Action Item: Virginia House Court of Justice Criminal-Sub Committee Members Planning a “Frankenstein” Bill that the Public Would Know Nothing About Until it’s Already Been Approved By Criminal-Sub


02/05/16 Update: 

I have been forwarded an email that someone received from House Legislative Services today regarding HB628. 

It says:
Del. Bell misspoke.  HB 628 is not being combined with any other bill.  It will be back on the docket some time next week.

So HB628 is coming back to life after being “tabled” Wednesday night by Delegate Rob Bell.
 
Since it was “tabled” most Virginians would stop tracking it believing it was done for 2016. 

It seems the “games” continue with House Courts of Justice Criminal-Sub Committee. 

It could be on Next Monday or next Wednesday’s docket which ever one it’s on I’ll be there ready to oppose it, again! 

Thank you all for sending those email’s to the Speaker of the House and for those of you who contacted Legislative Services on your own about this Bill, thank you! At least it’s not being “slipped” into a different bill that wouldn’t have been public information until after it made its way through Sub-Committee.  

Mary
 

Original Post:

It appears the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal-Sub’s shenanigans continue in 2016. 

On Monday I waited for HB628 to be heard in Criminal Sub-Committee from 11:30AM to 6:20PM. 

I always sit in the front row they all knew which bill I was there to oppose but at 6:20PM with 3 Bills left on the docket (including HB628) Delegate Bell asked the Committee members do we finish these or call it a night and they all said call it a night and the meeting ended. 

So I returned yesterday and waited for HB628 to be heard in Criminal Sub-Committee which finally began at 4:55PM after Courts Full Committee finished again sitting in the front row the whole time so all the members know I’m there for this one Bill. We get to the last 2 Bills on yesterdays docket (the last 3 were Delegate Bell’s) at about 8PM 

and Delegate Bell said:
We're in the home stretch
Mr. Chair (Delegate Cline), my House Bill 628, I need to sorta…its ummmm… I’m gonna table it but everyone needs to under stand why…-he takes a long sigh- so Delegate Albo is going to remove a Bill (HB177) from the ice-box… which is… what’s your Registry Bill Dave? What number? -Delegate Albo doesn’t know
Mr. Chairman, the Uber-Chair has decided all the Sex Registry Bills will be considered under his Bill, is that fair Delegate Albo?
So, for ice-box issues.
There’s one from Delegate Peace (HB672), this one from me… the issues here in will be decide to be in that Bill or not, is that fair? 

Delegate Albo then speaks:
The reason is if we send 4 Registry Bills up to Appropriations and they charged us $200,000, if we send one they charge us $50,000… so putting them all in one, a four for one deal. 
 

Delegate Cline said:
Good idea. Do they take coupons up there? 

Either Delegate Albo or Delegate Bell said:
Yes 

And then HB628 was tabled. 

Courts Criminal Sub-Committee members have played games with Sex Offender Bills for years when they know I’m in the room. If I dare to go to the ladies room they’ve tried to hear a Bill while I’m out of the room hoping they can get the vote in before I return. Back in 2013 or 2014 prior to a meeting beginning a Legislative attendant announced to the entire room that a particular Sex Offender Bill would not be heard, so I left and then when the Committee members saw I wasn’t there they decided to hear the Bill even though an announcement was made hours prior telling attendees it would not be heard and supposedly the Legislative attendant told them I was there but left because of the announcement and they proceeded anyway. 

So even if a Bill on a docket is announced that it won’t be heard at any point during a meeting, I stay through the entire meeting now just in case. 

To combine Del. Bell’s Bill which is Employer and College information being displayed online, Albo’s Bill which is mandating Crimes Against Nature become a register able offense (retroactive) and Peace’s Bill making Malicious wounding to a 13 year old or younger by an adult a register able offense (not retroactive) all into one Bill 3 weeks after session has begun isn’t being “creative” it’s being sneaky. 

These 3 Bills are not germane. 

This is similar to last years (2015)  issue with Delegate Ramadan submitting “decoy text” for his Robby’s Rule Bill to only show up at the Committee hearing with the text he planned to submit for months but no one was aware of or could prepare for. 

For years it’s been obvious that certain House Criminal-Sub Committee members do not enjoy seeing or hearing from me, my attendance annoys them. But attending these meetings has taught me a lot about our system, the expected processes and their character which has become extremely beneficial.   

If Delegates Bell, Albo and Peace are truly considering combining their three Bills into one then anyone who is tracking one Bill will have no idea that when another Bill is on a docket that a substitute is planned that will include the issues they were planning to oppose or support. This planned “Frankenstein” Bill would make it impossible for the citizens of Virginia to know what is going on in the Virginia Legislature and to have their voice heard because there is no way to prepare a statement ahead of time or to know to attend a hearing for a Bill number that you weren’t even tracking.  

Are House Committee Hearing “by ambush” approved by the Speaker of the House? 

This year the Virginia House was supposed to be more transparent, not less. 

If the conversation that occurred last night in Criminal-Sub is factual and not just intended to tick me off then this is not Open Government but Cloak-and -Dagger Politics which is unacceptable. 

Decoy-Bills and Frankstein-Bills by Virginia Delegates are an intentional underhanded maneuver to sneak proposals past the citizens of Virginia and we deserve better. 

If you are as upset with this plan to combine Bills so that citizens who are tracking one but not the other may miss their one opportunity to oppose it because it’s be slid into another Bill please contact the Virginia Speaker of the House William Howell DelWHowell@house.virginia.gov  OR 804-698-1028 TODAY! 

Be polite, be brief, stick to this particular issue and always be factual. 

Thank you for your support. 

Mary Davye Devoy