Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Action Item Against Virginia Bills HB757 Delegate Jay Leftwich, HB187 Delegate Cliff Hayes, SB24 Senator Lionell Spruill and SB49 Senator John Cosgrove, They Can NOT be Fixed AND They are Unnecessary!



01/09/18 4:08PM Update: 
A 4th version of this proposal has just posted in LIS, it is HB757  Patroned by Delegate James "Jay" Leftwich-R (Chesapeake) he can be reached at DeljLeftwich@house.virginia.gov  or (804) 698-1078. 

The third version posted in LIS back on December 26th HB187 Patroned by Delegate C.E. Cliff Hayes, Jr. -D (Chesapeake and Suffolk), he can be reached at DelcHayes@house.virginia.gov  or (804) 698-1077. 

The second version was/is  SB49 Patroned by Senator John Cosgrove Jr. -R (Chesapeake, VA Beach, Isle of Wight, Southampton Co., Franklin Co., Portsmouth and Suffolk), he can be reached at District14@senate.virginia.gov  or (804) 698-7514. 

The first version was/is  SB24 Patroned by Senator Lionell Spruill Sr. -D  (Chesapeake and Norfolk), he can be reached at District05@senate.virginia.gov  or (804) 698-7505 .     

Mary Devoy

Original Post:

Virginia Senators Lionell Spruill-D (Chesapeake and Norfolk) and John Cosgrove-R (Chesapeake, VA Beach, Isle of Wight, Southampton Co., Franklin Co., Portsmouth and Suffolk) have both filed identical legislation for the upcoming 2018 Virginia General Assembly session that begins on Wednesday January 10, 2018 in Richmond. 

SB24-Spruill and SB49-Cosgrove proposes that anyone who enters an Emergency Shelter who is also listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry must notify the shelter staff that they are in fact a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) so that the staff can make reasonable accommodations to ensure the safety of all persons in the shelter. But the shelter is NOT supposed to deny the RSO entrance solely on the basis of his or her status as a Sex Offender. The legislation also requires the RSO to notify local law-enforcement of their temporary stay at the shelter within 3 days. 

These Bills specify that the Registered Sex Offender must notify the shelter staff of their status, but neither Bill directs any state entity to notify Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders of this new law and neither Bill says shelter staff will be asking those entering the shelter if they are an RSO. Exactly how would Virginia’s RSO’s know of their duty to notify the shelter? 

What if the local shelters claim they do not have “reasonable” accommodations for Registered Sex Offenders?  

This legislation as currently written, allows the local shelter to use that as an excuse to then deny entry to RSO’s.  

Most Registered Sex Offenders have a significant other, a spouse and/or child.  

Approximately 5% of the VSP SO Registry are females and many of them are single-parents.  

Many Registered Sex Offenders live with and/or care for elderly parents. 

Some Registered Sex Offenders are juveniles.  

If any of these RSO’s evacuate to an emergency shelter, they will not be alone, they may need to care for a child or an elderly parent while saying in the shelter, they may be a child themselves. 

This proposed legislation claims “reasonable accommodations” for the RSO, but what about RSO’s who have family members, who are caring for an ill or elderly person, who are parents or who are children? Will they be allowed to stay together in the shelter? 

I can only image the “reasonable accommodations” would be a dumping ground, off in a far corner of the shelter, perhaps with restricted contact, movement and even bathroom use. Maybe under constant spotlights or security guard observation. 

All Virginia Emergency Shelters have a police presence, per these two Bills why would a Registered Sex Offender be required to go to the local law enforcement agency to notify them of the temporary shelter residence? If there is an emergency the RSO may not have a vehicle, or gas to get there. The roads may be flooded, the police station might be closed, expecting an RSO to travel to a local police station when they have abandoned their home is not only absurd it risks the lives of not just the RSO or their loved ones but the lives of the police, fire fighters and paramedics who may have to rescue them.

If an emergency shelter is opened in Virginia then that city or county is in the midst of an emergency, perhaps even a mandatory evacuation. People who go to a shelter do so because they are seeking aid, they have no transportation to flee the area, they have no money to stay at a hotel or they have no family to depend on.
 

These Bills give the green-light for a local shelter to segregate, shame or even deny a person who is listed on the VSP Sex Offender Registry, plus it puts all the legal burden onto the RSO who had no option but to abandon their home. 

Current Virginia Code instructs Registered Sex Offenders who move to notify the authorities of a residence change within 3 days but any RSO who is visiting family, friends or vacationing within the state does NOT have to notify the authorities of those temporary changes, because they are TEMPORARY. So why would this temporary change require a 3-day notification to the authorities?  

When the disaster has ended and the shelter empties the RSO returns home to cleanup what may be left of their home like everyone else, per these Bills they are expected to return to the local authority to update their information in-person within 3-days. This is a lot of time, money, paperwork and manpower to change and then undo what is a temporary stay in an emergency shelter all during a disaster, so I do hope Senators Spruill and Cosgrove are budgeting for all this back and forth at local authorities and VSP Headquarters.

I always look for reasonable fixes to legislation that has a reasonable goal which should be to fix an actual problem.
 

Can these Bills be amended to be acceptable or do they need to just die? 

Let’s see. 

I- Can either of these bills be fixed/ tweaked with an amendment to:
1.     Either notify Virginia’s RSO’s of the change in law and the duty to notify a shelter of their status OR to direct shelters to directly ask the question.
2.    Eliminate the 3-day notification to the local authorities and allow the shelter employee notification to suffice.
 Yes, they could. 

II- Can either of these bills be fixed/ tweaked with an amendment to guarantee that:
3.    No shelter can deny an RSO entry (banishment) if they have no “reasonable accommodation”.
4.    RSO’s won’t be separated from their family members including their children.
5.    RSO’s won’t be segregated (quarantined) in a far-off corner or room with limited movement, under strict scrutiny or perhaps even bathroom access.
6.    RSO’s won’t be marked/labeled with a badge or a wristband or be followed by shelter workers or police officer where ever they go, publicly humiliating them and their family members.
No, they can NOT. 

And that is why both of these Bills and any future House version that may follow, must be stopped! 

Public safety includes aiding those who are in danger and in need, not erecting unnecessary and cruel barriers to prevent them from accessing safety. 

Registered Sex Offenders are citizens, they pay taxes, they provide for themselves and for their loved ones. They are not animals, they are not monsters and Virginia Delegates and Senators need to stop targeting them with myth-based, hate-driven and discriminatory legislation year in and year out.

Senators Spruill and Cosgrove make think their Bills are protecting citizens but in fact their Bills mean anyone’s criminal history will dictate a citizen’s worthiness to seek refuge, safety or aid in the Commonwealth.   

I’ve witnessed a long list of indifferent, immoral and inhumane Bills against Registered Sex Offenders over the last 9 Virginia General Assembly sessions but this 2018 proposal is in the Top 2 of the most malicious yet, tying with 2010’s HB967- Delegate Chris Peace that was amended mid-way (January 29th) through the 2010 session to ban all Registered Sex Offenders from being admitted as a patient to assisted living facilities, thankfully that amendment was removed before it went onto the VA Senate. 

These two Bills being proposed by Senators Spruill and Cosgrove are unnecessary, there have been no issues at Virginia Shelters. 

If these Bills do make it to a Committee hearing, I will be opposing them. 

Please contact both Patrons TODAY and ask them to withdraw their Bill for the reasons listed above.
Senator Lionell Spruill Sr.            District05@senate.virginia.gov           757-424-2178 (before session)
Senator John Cosgrove Jr.           District14@senate.virginia.gov            757-547-3422 (before session) 

Also, please contact your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator and ask them to vote ‘Nay’ on these Bills in Committee and if they make it to the Chamber Floor as well as and any similar Bills that may follow because of the above reasons. If you don’t know who your two District Representatives are, you can look them up here, http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ 

Thank you. 

Mary Davye Devoy

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Virginia Bill HB144- Patroned by Delegate Mark Cole Would Allow RSO’s Convicted of a Misdemeanor to Petition for Removal from the VSP Registry After 7 Years Instead Having to Wait 15 Years


A Bill has just posted in LIS (see below) and I am just dumbstruck. It’s a positive Bill that would only help a small percentage of Virginia RSO’s, but it actually helps instead of hurts and that’s why I’m shocked at the moment. 

I have no idea where this proposal came from as I have not been asking for it but for some reason Delegate Cole-R has decided to sponsor it and I thank him for doing so. 

The closest type of proposal I’ve been asking for Virginia Delegates and Senators to Patron was part of my Legislative Goal #4 - Move Misdemeanor/Non-Violent & Juveniles RSO’s to a Private Registry AND Automatically Remove Them Both After a Reasonable Time-frame of Perfect Compliance goo.gl/DeeWOa.

I will be looking into this Bill a bit more, I know there will be some (perhaps many) Virginia Legislators that will oppose this Bill. I’m pretty sure that the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaison's will be opposing it based on the last 9 sessions of them opposing any positive Bill that I’ve found Patrons for, that were based on RSO facts and proven processes. 

Perhaps Delegate Cole has been listening to the studies, reports, policies and statistics that I have been routinely sharing with the Legislator's for the last 10 years. I hope to learn what inspired him to propose this Bill, this year 

This Bill could be the first step for future Bills to work on expanding the petition process for removal for other RSO’s in Virginia. 

I am cautiously optimistic about this proposal, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Even if this particular Bill does not help you or your loved one, I hope you will support it as a positive step for Virginia’s RSO’s and ask your one Virginia Delegate to support it. 

Mary Davye Devoy
 

HB144:        Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry; removal of name and information from Registry. 

Sponsor/ Patron:                               Mark L. Cole
Co-Sponsors/ Co-Patrons:            None yet             

Companion, Identical or Very Similar Bill:     None yet        Sponsor/ Patron:    

Bill Text as Introduced:
Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry; removal of name and information from Registry. Allows a person who is required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry for an offense that is a misdemeanor to petition for the removal of his name and information from the Registry after at least seven years have passed from the date of initial registration. Currently, 15 years from the date of initial registration is the earliest a person may be eligible to petition for the removal of his name and information from the Registry. 

Read Full Text or Track Bill Status on Virginia General Assembly Website:

Track Bill Status, Cast Your Vote or Read/Leave Public Comment on Richmond Sunlight Website:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Action Item for Much Needed Amendment to Virginia Bills HB10-Delegate Kory, HB266- Delegate Turpin, HB718- Delegate Plum and SB112- Senator Favola to Expand the Victims Under a Hate Crime


01/10/18 5:00AM Update: 

A 4th version of this proposal has posted on January 9th in LIS HB718, it is Patroned by Delegate Kenneth Plum- D (Fairfax Co.) he can be reached at DelKPlum@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1036. 

The third version posted in LIS on January 3rd HB266 Patroned by Delegate-Elect Cheryl Turpin -D (Virginia Beach), she can be reached at DelCTurpin@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1085. 

The second version was/is SB112 Patroned by Senator Barbara Favola -D (Arlington, Fairfax and Loudon Counties), she can be reached at district31@senate.virginia.gov or (804) 698-7531. 

The first version was/is  HB10 Patroned by Delegate Kay Kory -D (Fairfax Co.), she can be reached at DelKKory@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1038 . 

Mary Devoy

 
Original Post:

A set of Companion Bills HB10/SB112 have been filed for the upcoming 2018 Virginia General Assembly session to expand the categories of victims under a Hate Crime to also include disability, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The definition of a Hate Crime:
Hate crime (also known as bias-motivated crime) is a usually violent, prejudice motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. Examples of such groups include but are not limited to: ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, or sexual orientation. 

In Virginia it’s any criminal act committed against a person or his property with the specific intent of instilling fear or intimidation in the individual against whom the act is perpetrated because of race, religion or ethnic origin.

Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), their spouses, their parents, their significant others, their children, their room-mates and their property have become targets of vigilantes across the U.S. because their addresses are public information The property of RSO’s and their loved ones have been robbed, vandalized and set on fire. RSO’s and their loved ones have been harassed, taunted, assaulted and even murdered simply because a stranger found their name and address posted on the public Sex Offender Registry.

Based on the definition of a Hate Crime, Registered Sex Offenders are a “certain social group” and any violence against them should be punished as such.
 

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) added "Sex Offenders" to their list of people to target in 2009, possibly earlier.  In a Google search you can easily find videos and news articles about it. The KKK is motivated by theological and political ideologies, but mostly it’s an “Us” versus “Them” movement.  

The KKK is the oldest and most notorious Hate Group in America with a history of fear, violence and vigilantism. They are anti-African-American (Pro-Caucasian/White Supremacy), anti-Jew (Pro-Christian), anti-LGBT, anti-Immigrant, anti-Communist AND Sex Offenders. These are all “undesirables to target” according to the KKK. 

The U.S. Government should include those listed on the 50 State Sex Offender Registries who are copied onto the National Sex Offender Registry under the Federal Hate Crimes statute. Each State posts a variety of personal information of their RSO’s online including home addresses, name of employer, address of employer, phone numbers, license plate numbers and maps right to their front doors. It’s practically a Government sponsored invitation for a vigilante to strike a vulnerable stranger because they are part of an undesirable group.

Until the Federal Government makes the change to protect the 874,725+ RSO’s, the State of Virginia if expanding their definition of a Hate Crime in 2018 should take this much needed step to protect it’s 23,119+ RSO’s and loved ones who could easily become collateral damage of a Hate Crime.
 

While most Americans would agree any Hate Group is despicable and if they commit a crime against others based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, they should face Federal charges. Most Americans couldn’t care less about Registered Sex Offenders (or their family members) being harassed, intimidated, threatened, vandalized, beaten or even killed, after all they are a Registered Sex Offender.

But that’s the point here. 
 

Selecting and then targeting someone from a “list” because the U. S. Government has claimed the public has a right to know who these “Predators”, “Perverts” and “Pedophiles” are and where they live actually creates paranoia and fear within the population that wouldn’t exist if there weren’t Registries.  

By posting RSO’s information online and mapping right to their front door the Commonwealth has made every RSO vulnerable to harassment, intimidation or worse.
 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Attention! An Action Item for Female Registered Sex Offenders


 
A national reporter is working on an article about Sex Offender Treatment for females and would like to hear from female RSO’s who either received treatment while incarcerated or while in the community OR who were unable to find a program because they were female.
 
Approximately 5% of the VSP Sex Offender Registry is female so if you are willing to share your experience with the reporter email me at MaryDavyeDevoy@comcast.net and I will send you her contact information.
 
Thank you!
Mary

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

November 2017: 50 U.S. States (and Territories) Per Capita of Registered Sex Offenders. Oregon Remains at #1, Rhode Island Jumped Up 18 Spots to #30 and Virginia Remains at #23.


I have now updated my Per Capita Chart (above, larger version below) that I originally created during the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session per the request of a Virginia Delegate.  

The data in this chart comes from the NCMEC Sex Offender Map, November 2017 

NCMEC gives the 100,000 per capita numbers but that really doesn’t mean much to most folks, they need something a bit more tangible. So I took the idea from my Virginia State Police Registry Growth chart where I calculate 1 out of every Adult Male in the State. 

Now, not every Registered Sex Offender is a Male, in Virginia approximately 5% of the VSP Registry is female. 

Also, not every Registered Sex Offender is an adult; there are juveniles in many States who are Registered Sex Offenders. Plus, there are States with Private Registries and NCMEC doesn’t note anywhere on their map if their RSO count includes juveniles or private registries. Also NCMEC claims their Registered Sex Offender count does NOT include incarcerated Registered Sex Offenders, but when you compare their count for Virginia and the Virginia State Polices count they are very close which means NCMEC”s count for VA IS including incarcerated RSO’s.  

So, this Per Capita Chart (see below) for November 2017 is as good as the NCMEC data. 

Here are the most notable changes and similarities from the May 2017 data to the November 2017 data in the per capita chart:
 

November 2017 U.S. Sex Offender Map from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is Now Online. They Say There are 874,725 Registered Sex Offenders in the 50 States and 5 U.S. Territories.


November 28, 2017 http://www.missingkids.com/content/dam/ncmec/en_us/documents/Sex_Offenders_Map.pdf

 
Note- I can email my full spreadsheet (May 2005 to November 2017) that is at the bottom of this post to anyone who is interested, it’s just too wide to post on this blog as an image and attachments can not be loaded onto a blog.
 
Every May/June and then again in December I begin checking the NCMEC website for their latest "Sex Offender" count because the number they claim is the ONLY source for a total number of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S.. The NCMEC RSO count is THE go-to for media, Politicians, Researchers and Victim’s Groups.  

Today I found their latest map for November 2017:

Once NCMEC posts the newest map their previous count disappears from the Internet and since they don’t archive their map/counts for the public, I started a BIG chart years ago to track their numbers from May 2005 to the present, plus I have archived EVERY NCMEC map. 

So today I took their latest counts and I updated my BIG spreadsheet. According to NCMEC as of November 2017 there was an increase of 12,888 Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S. for a total of 874,725 RSO’s. 

Next, I’ll be updating my Per Capita chart based on NCMEC’s counts. 

There will always be an ebb-and-flow to the U.S. RSO population growth, those who move to another state, those who die, new crimes being implemented in States, Court rulings that add or remove people, Court petitions for removal being granted, etc.   

But as followers have noted over the years (here, here, here, here) I have serious doubts about NCMEC’s data being accurate. 

Why should I care? 

Because they are the ONLY source of this data for reporters, researchers, politicians and victims groups and until the U.S. Department of Justice requires every States Attorney General to be the reporter of this information we are dependent on a non-profit. 

Here are a few examples of the issues I’ve noticed with NCMEC’s November 2017 Map: 

  • Arizona dropped by 543 RSO’s after NOT add one additional RSO since December 2016.
  • There are ridiculously low increases in Connecticut 7, in Hawaii, 4 and in Delaware 2 additional RSO’s in the last 6 months.
  • Somehow Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and South Carolina have not added 1 additional RSO in the last 6 months, that is impossible as big as NJ and PA are.
  • Per NCMEC Virginia added 343 additional RSO’s (which I’d agree with), but that means Virginia contributed to 2.66% on the last 6 months of growth but Pennsylvania which holds a similar total % RSO to Virginia didn’t? In May 2017 Virginia had 2.64% of the total RSO population in the U.S. and Pennsylvania had 2.42% of total U.S. population.
  • And Massachusetts that had NOT added ONE additional RSO in the last 3 years according to NCMEC finally added new RSO’s, 443 of them.
As you can see on my chart (below) Michigan went from having 4.99% of the entire U.S. RSO population to 5.01% and California dropped from 12.12% of the entire U.S. RSO population to 12.03%. 
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

50 State Comparison: How Often Are Registered Sex Offenders Mandated to Re-Register Their Already Registered Information (not a new change) with the Authorities Under Threat of a New Felony?


5:30AM- 12/12/17 Updates:
Since the original post I have received Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia’s information. Now I just need District of Columbia, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New York and Wyoming. -Mary



Original Post:
Attention: I am looking for additional data (see below) anyone that has the answers to the States I’m still missing please email me. – Mary Devoy
As most of you know, in Virginia per VA Code § 9.1-904. Reregistration depending on your conviction Registered Sex Offenders must re-register (already registered data) with either the Virginia State Police or the local authorities (who send the forms to the VSP):
1.     Every 90 days (not 3 months)
2.    Every 180 days (not 6 months)
3.    Annually
If an RSO has ever had a failure-to-register conviction they must re-register every 30 days.
Now, this is just mandated “re-registrations”, NOT registering an actual change in one’s residence, mailing address, employment, school, phone numbers, email address, name, motor vehicle /watercraft ownership, etc which per VA Code § 9.1-903. Registration procedures must be done within 30 days or 30 minutes of the change occurring.
I have previously posted about Virginia’s wasteful re-registration letters and moving the State towards a rotating system as well as many internal VSP policy changes that Virginia’s RSO’s were never made aware of but were directly affected by.
Recently I wondered how often do the other States make RSO’s re-register the already registered information. So, I started researching the timeframes for the other 49 States and I’ve found the answers for all but 8 States and the District of Columbia. Once I have those 9 I want to then include if a State increases re-registration if there is a failure to register OR if the RSO is homeless are they mandated to re-report their same location just because they are homeless?
Below you will find my current list of Re-registration timeframes for RSO’s. Anyone that that has the information I’m looking for, for the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia or Wyoming please email me the answer and a link to where you located this data to MaryDavyeDevoy@comcast.net . I’m asking for a link because for some of these State I found articles (not a statute) from 8+ years and since then the law may have changed, I’d like either the specific statute stating the re-registration timeframes or an article no more than 3 years old. Also if anyone knows if their state does or does not increase reregistration for failure-to-registers or homelessness, please email that information so I can check your State off before I start researching those issues.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Study: Children on Sex Offender Registries at Greater Risk for Suicide Attempts, Sexual Assault, Being Approached by Adults for Sex and Mental Health Problems


Back in April I attended the Johns Hopkins Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Symposium in Baltimore which I posted about here for anyone who is interested.

Well today Johns Hopkins has posted a study so I’m sharing the link.

Virginia publicly registers children as young as 13 years old (yes 13) as Sex Offenders on the Virginia State Police Registry. These children are classified as Violent and they have no avenue to ever be removed from the VSP Registry, and will remain listed, managed and monitored by the Commonwealth until they move to another State or until they die.

I have been proposing smart reforms for juveniles in Virginia (goo.gl/qYqGRv and goo.gl/DeeWOa) for the last 10 years and
I will not give up fighting for smart reform in Virginia, it’s too important.

Here is a new study from Johns Hopkins on what registering juveniles as Sex Offenders really does.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Children on Sex Offender Registries at Greater Risk for Suicide Attempts, Study Suggests December 6, 2017
Other risks include sexual assault, being approached by an adult for sex and mental health problems
https://www.newswise.com/articles/children-on-sex-offender-registries-at-greater-risk-for-suicide-attempts-study-suggests

Psychology Today: Children on Sex Offender Registries at Risk for Suicide, December 6, 2017
Other risks include sexual assault and being approached by an adult for sex.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prevention-now/201712/children-sex-offender-registries-risk-suicide


Mary Devoy

 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Action Item for 2018 Virginia Bills HB187, SB24 & SB49 Emergency Shelters and Registered Sex Offenders, Patroned by Delegate Cliff Hayes, Senator Lionel Spruill and Senator John Cosgrove.



12/27/17 4:45AM Update: 

On December 26th at 7:20PM a House version of this legislation was posted in LIS, so now there are 3 identical Bills. 

The newest version is HB187 Patroned by Delegate C.E. Cliff Hayes, Jr. -D (Chesapeake and Suffolk), he can be contacted at DelcHayes@house.virginia.gov  or 757-364-0272 (before session). 

The latest Action Item for these proposals is from December 20, 2017 and can be found here goo.gl/WkjzRK . 

Mary Devoy

 
Original Post:

Virginia Senators Lionell Spruill and John Cosgrove have both filed identical legislation for the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session. 


Last week I learned this request came from the Chesapeake Police Department. 


I expected a possible companion Bill in the House but I was surprised to see an identical Senate Bill post in LIS on Monday. 

SB24-Spruill and SB49-Cosgrove:
Provides that a registered sex offender who enters an emergency shelter designated by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and operated in response to a declared state or local emergency shall, as soon as practicable after entry, notify a member of the shelter's staff who is responsible for providing security of such person's status as a registered sex offender. The bill provides that the shelter's staff may access the publicly available information on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry regarding such person and use such information in making reasonable accommodations to ensure the safety of all persons in the shelter; however, no person shall be denied entry solely on the basis of his status as a sex offender unless such entry is otherwise prohibited by law. The bill also requires that such person register with the local law-enforcement agency where the shelter is located within three days of entering the shelter if such person continues to reside in the shelter at that time. 

Now most readers are immediately going to say, WHY Registered Sex Offenders? Why not ask thieves, drug users and drug sellers, armed robbers, murderers, abusers and assaulters to declare their past convictions to the shelter? All of these crimes have recidivism rates that are 3-6 times higher than the recidivism rate of Sex Offenders but here you are singling them out in the midst of an emergency. The basis of this legislation is NOT fact but it is myth, fear and hate and no law in Virginia should ever be based on one of those reasons let alone all three. 

I’d agree with all of that. BUT, that is not an argument that Virginia Legislators will listen to when opposing a Bill/Legislation. They just aren’t, I know because I tried using that argument for my first few years of advocacy. 

So, let’s look at these 2 identical Bills, determine what the main problems with them are and if there is a reasonable fix OR if there isn’t.