Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Virginia Bill HB1101 Patroned by Delegate Ron Villanueva: First Gives Homeowner Associations a Special Carve Out in Virginia Code for RSO Notifications, But it’s End Goal is Actually to Push RSO’s Out of High-End Neighborhoods In Virginia

Automatic notification of registration of sex offenders; common interest communities.
Provides that the association for a common interest community (Condominium/ Homeowners Association) may request and receive from the State Police notice of the registration or reregistration of sex offenders whose registered address is in the same or a contiguous zip code as that of the common interest community.

This proposal would liken residents who reside in condominiums and neighborhoods with Housing Associations to that of daycares, schools and assisted living facilities within the Code of Virginia claiming they should be privileged to receive RSO-notifications directly from the Virginia State Police-VSP.   

Today EVERY citizen and non-Virginian regardless of their income level has access to the same Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry information. Anyone can sign up for Sex Offender email notifications from the State Police by selecting a desired zip code or codes for free.  

Per a January 26, 2016 FOIA with the VSP I learned that 6,261 “entities” receive electronic notifications and their notifications are the exact same as for individual citizens who sign up online.

Condominiums and Homeowners Associations are basically neighborhoods and they exist within a specific footprint; the State Polices Registry search does not differentiate nor are they aware of neighborhoods specific boundaries, searches are based on zip codes. 

If there is no plan for individual Homeowners Association and Condominium Complex to submit their street names and numbers so that State Police could design a completely new way of searching their database and then notify the individual Associations, then HB1101 is unnecessary. If that is the future plan, where is the additional cost being captured?  

Either way this proposal is elitist. 

I called the patrons office to discuss this Bill a few weeks ago. According to the patrons Legislative Assistant I was advised (and shocked to learn) that the Civic Leagues in Virginia Beach who asked for this Bill weren’t just unhappy that Registered Sex Offenders live in their neighborhoods but ultimately these groups are looking for avenues to push the RSO’s out, reasoning that new laws might be the solution. But step one would be, knowing of the RSO’s presence and so HB1101 was submitted.  

Remember using the Virginia Sex Offender Registry to threaten, harass, and intimidate those listed, is a misdemeanor offense. 

HB1101 should never have been proposed, but yet here it is soon to be heard in the second chamber. 

HB1101 should have been opposed by the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaison, but it wasn’t. The State Police it appears would be assisting these “Homeowner and Condominium Associations” to push RSO’s out of these high-end neighborhoods, whether it be to lower income neighborhoods without an Association OR into homelessness. 

Condominium and Homeowner Associations are neighborhoods, not special entities. 

HB1101 would allow exceptional protections for those who live in affluent housing at the expense of the poor; this is an affront to equal protection under the law. 

It takes 2 minutes to sign up for email notifications from the VSP Registry based on zip-codes and everyone has this service available to them, rich or poor. 

Exceptions for schools, daycares and assisted living facilities make some sense, but carving out an exception for expensive/luxury neighborhoods into Virginia Code, does not.  

If you oppose HB1101, please contact all 40 Virginia Senators today (see list below) and ask them to vote ‘NO’!