Thursday, April 13, 2017

Legislative Goal #6 for a Smarter Sex Offender Registry in Virginia – Repeal Virginia’s Myth-Based, Hate-Driven Residency Restriction Statute § 18.2-370.3.

Today’s Goal is #6, Repeal Virginia’s myth-based, hate-driven Residency Restriction Statute. 

If you agree with this goal please ask your one Virginia Delegate and one Senator to Patron/Sponsor a Bill at the next Virginia General Assembly session in January 2018.  Our VA GA. sessions begin the second Wednesday of every January so you should make your request somewhere between May and early-November.  

You could make your request via email, via phone or even schedule a meeting with your Delegate and Senator to discuss the issues that concern you as their constituent and then propose a Bill or two at that meeting.  

If they decline to Patron/Sponsor the Bill, ask them why 

If their concerns can be addressed, address it. If not let them know you’ll be in a touch again in a month or 2, then pick a different goal and ask them to sponsor that new proposal and if they decline, again ask them why.

If their concerns can be addressed, address it. 

If not (they may say I just don’t want to patron that), then select another goal and ask them again in 2+ months to sponsor that Bill, persistence pays off!  

Even if they don’t agree to be a Sponsor they will know:
  1. If they give you a legitimate reason not to Sponsor you will return with facts and data to alleviate those concerns.
  2. If they don’t give a legitimate reason not to Sponsor a Bill you are willing to point out empirical evidence should be the reason laws are proposed not emotion, myth and hate.
  3. That you will continue to return to them asking for Sponsorship as a constituent in their District.
  4. That you are a registered voter (hopefully) and these issues are very important to you and your family members (also voters, hopefully) and so every November they are up for reelection you and your family will be making your selection based on a candidates willingness to listen to reason and data.
You are their constituent, you are a tax-payer and hopefully a voter, they must listen to your concerns and proposals. If you aren’t sure how to address their reason/denial to sponsor a particular Bill that came from my Legislative Goals list, email me at with:
  1. The # of Goal you requested
  2. Which VA Legislator you asked
  3. The reason they gave you not to sponsor the Bill
If I can help you find a solution to deliver to your Delegate or Senator, I will. 

Mary Devoy

Goal #6:

Repeal Virginia’s Myth-Based, Hate-Driven Residency Restriction Statute. 

Virginia has Residency restrictions for some Registered Sex Offenders § 18.2-370.3. who can not live within 500 feet of a public school, licensed day-care center or public park that shares a border with a school and is used for school activities.   

When an RSO is looking for a rental property or a home to buy they are responsible for knowing if their future residence is more than 500ft circumference (as the crow flies) from a school, licensed day-care facility or Public Park that shares a border with a school. The state offers no assistance by providing them with a map of locations that are off-limits or to check before they sign a lease or close on a home purchase. But the state will be sure to file charges against an RSO who is included in the residency restrictions and has unknowingly violated the law. 

Residency restrictions have been studied for the last 15 years; they are completely based on myth, fear and hate.  

All the literature on residency restrictions points to the same conclusion: restricting where sex offenders can live doesn’t appear to increase public safety one iota. It may decrease it, however, because the "unintended consequences of residence restrictions include transience, homelessness, instability, and other obstacles to community reentry." Since "unemployment, unstable housing, and lack of support are associated with increased criminal recidivism," and housing restrictions lead to all three, they're a bad idea, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers argues (ATSA).  

Virginia lawmakers who continue to propose to expand Virginia’s Residency Restrictions need to read the research that has been previously distributed and stop fanning the flames of hysteria when it comes to Registered Sex Offenders.  

Past Bills by Virginia Legislators to EXPAND Residency Restrictions or Loitering, to redefine “School Property” and to include ALL School-Sponsored Events even if they are at a Public Venue on Private Property:
I- Residency:
·     2010 -HB1004 Patroned by Delegate Clay Athey now a VA judge, Delegate Dave Albo retiring at end of 2017 and Senator Jill Vogel - Did NOT become law
·     2011 - HB1823 Patroned by Delegate Glenn Oder retired- Did NOT become law
·     2015 -HB1505 Patroned by Delegate Dave Albo retiring at end of 2017- Did NOT become law
II- Residing in Assisted Living Facilities:
·     2010 - HB967 Patroned by Delegate Chris Peace (Bill was amended in Committee to prohibit RSO’s, then the amendment was later removed)
III- Residency AND Loitering:
·     2017 - SB1072 Patroned by Senator Creigh Deeds Was requested by the Virginia State Police
·     2017 - HB1485 Patroned by Delegate Dickie Bell, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter and Delegate Israel O’Quinn  Was requested by the Virginia State Police
IV- Loitering:
·     2011 - HB1523 Patroned by Delegate Steve Landes - Did NOT become law
·     2010 - HB919 Patroned by Delegate Rob Bell - Did NOT become law
·     2013 - SB1152 Patroned by Senator Ryan McDougle - Did NOT become law
V- Expanding the Definition of School Property OR School-Sponsored Events onto Private Property, So This Becomes a “Loitering” Issue:
·     2011HB2066 Patroned by Delegate Rob Bell, Delegate Steve Landes, Delegate Clifford Athey now a VA judge, Delegate Dickie Bell, Delegate William Cleaveland retired, Delegate Scott Garrett, Delegate Gregory Habeeb, Delegate Salvatore Iaquinto retired, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate Donald Merricks retired, Delegate Jackson Miller, Delegate Roxann Robinson, Delegate Edward Scott retired, Delegate Beverly Sherwood retired, Delegate Ronald Villanueva and Delegate Tony Wilt
·     2011 SB1185 Patroned by Senator Tommy Norment