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Thursday, February 11, 2016

February 10, 2016 Hearings in Virginia House Courts of Justice Full and Criminal Sub for HB628, HB177 and HB1317


So I planned to attend yesterdays; House Courts of Justice Full Committee (started at 2:40PM) hearing where HB177 and HB1317 were to be heard to then sit through Civil-Sub and then Constitutional-Sub waiting for Criminal-Sub (started at 6:30PM) so I could oppose HB628. 

Well in Full Committee both HB177 AND HB1317 were bounced back to Criminal-Sub and as last nights Criminal-Sub was the final meeting before Cross-Over Day that meant 3 Bills were going to be discussed and possibly take public comment instead of the just the one listed on the on-line docket because there would be no future dockets. These are important points that unless you are at the GA building attending hearings you’ll never know they happened until after-the-fact. 

Disappointingly I had to leave at 7:30PM last night while knowing that Criminal-Sub would continue on without me until 10PM or perhaps even midnight. It was a difficult decision to leave, but I had to. Per a Dave Albo email alert today, I now know the meeting ended around 10:40PM. 

There was another advocate in the audience though so there’d be at least one opposing statement and I had high hopes his statement might stop HB628, it didn’t. 

HB628-Rob Bell passed out of Criminal-Sub last night unanimously, 11-0. It will most likely be sent to the House floor in a block vote to pass. I WILL (come hell or high water) be on hand when this Bill is heard in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee to oppose it. Stay tuned for an action item to contact the Virginia Senators about this Bill in the next few weeks. I was advised by the other advocate that Delegate Bell noted to the audience that I had left the hearing and the delay in hearing his Bill was not to purposefully avoid hearing my testimony. Too funny! 

HB177- Albo was re-heard and passed out of Criminal-Sub last night unanimously, 11-0. It was amended (again); now the amendment will not post on LIS until AFTER the Full Committee hears it on Friday (tomorrow) but I have received confirmation that ALL of the "Crimes Against Nature" (the original Bill text) has been removed from the Bill. Yes!  

HB177 is now a combination of HB604- Rob Bell and HB672-Peace (Eli’s Law) even though it has Delegate Albo listed as the patron; the text is from Rob Bell and Chris Peace.

I was advised by the other advocate at the Wednesday night hearing that Delegate Albo mentioned to the audience that I sent an email early on Wednesday to all House Courts of Justice members that I contacted 18 researchers and treatment providers in the Sexual Abuse and/or Sex Offender field asking them for any research on a connection or no connection between convictions of Bestiality and future convictions of sexual abuse against people and all the responses I received from the experts was that no research on a correlation. 

HB1317- Cline passed out of Criminal-Sub last night unanimously, 11-0. It was amended (again); now the amendment will not post on LIS until AFTER the Full Committee hears it on Friday (tomorrow). I have been advised that the re-amend version is still focused on aggravated sexual battery, but now instead of amending existing law it adds a new violation if an adult sexually abuses a 13-14-year old against his or her will by ruse.

That’s the latest news from the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session. 

Mary