Today was the first Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission meeting of 2017; they usually hold 4 meetings per year and I always attend the first one because that’s’ where they discuss Legislation from the most recent General Assembly session. The VCSC website will post the presentations/data from today’s meeting online at some point in the next few days but right now it’s not online.
The first VCSC meeting always includes how many Bills (legislation) were filed and in what categories they fell into.
Now the VCSC tracks the Bills that have Fiscal Impact Statements (FIS) because their staff has to provide the statements prior to, during and after session. More on FIS requirements is below for anyone who is interested. The VCSC also captures the most popular (highest count) Bills w/ an FIS, and that’s varied from year to year sometimes they document just the Top 3 types of Bills and other years it’s the Top 9.
Not every Bill has a financial cost which means a FIS would not be needed, so the VCSC’s annual count of Bills by Type/Category is not the grand total for each category, in fact some categories show zero but that doesn’t mean there weren’t Bills in those categories that year. Either the Bill count with FIS’s was so low they didn’t make the Top 3-10 List OR there were Bills in that category but they had NO FIS.
Every year for the last 13 Virginia General Assembly sessions the category of “Sex Offender” has had a high enough number of Bills being filed the VCSC has included them in their GA wrap-up presentation. NO other category of Legislation in
in the last 13 sessions has made
the VCSC count EVERY YEAR, except "Sex Offender". Virginia
Is this surprising? No. In fact a VCSC staffer said to me today when I held my spreadsheet (while it was missing the 2017 data) up to him, that sounds about right. I know Virginia Delegates and Senators love to target the “Sex Offenders”, it’s usually any easy vote, to sail through with little discussion or opposition.
The problem is “Sex Offender” legislation should NOT be the most requested type of Bill in
· 9 out of 10 sex crimes that happened last year, that will happen this year and that will happen next year in the Commonwealth will be committed by someone known to the victim, not a stranger.
· 96-98% of sex crimes that happened last year, that will happen this year and that will happen next year in the Commonwealth will be committed by someone who is NOT a Registered Sex Offender, listed on the VSP Registry.
Yet Virginia Delegates and Senators are filing Sex Offender Bills year-in-and-year-out while claiming to target those already convicted of a crime because they will do it again when in reality the recidivism rate for Registered Sex Offenders is the second lowest of ALL crimes.