Monday, April 3, 2017

One Type of Legislation Has Been Continuously Filed by Virginia Legislators EVERY Year for the last 13 General Assembly Sessions Whereas Other Categories Come and Go. Can You Guess the Category?

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 Virginia in the last 13 sessions has made the VCSC count EVERY YEAR, except "Sex Offender".  

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 Virginia because:
·         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. 

March 2017 Goal Brochure: Virginia Deserves a Smarter Sex Offender Registry

A revised Goal Brochure is now posted here, the April 2017 version is below.

Original Post:

Last week (before I received the 2016 VSP costs) I designed and ordered a new Restoring Integrity to Virginia SO Registry Goal brochure (see below) since my last brochure was for the 2014 VA General Assembly. 

As 2017 moves along I will add the 2016 VSP costs and then the 2017 RSO count right before the 2018 Virginia General Assembly begins next January for those copies. My brochures always have a date at the bottom of a panel so you know how current it is. 

You might notice the order of Goals in this new brochure is a bit different than the order from the Legislative Goal page but that’s because these brochures are read by Legislators, the media, Victim’s advocates and citizens who aren’t familiar with the Virginia Registry so I start the brochure with goals they are more likely to agree with so hopefully they will continue to read the list instead of putting the brochure down.

Restoring Integrity to Virginia Sex Offender Registry April 2017 Dos and Don’t Brochure

This past weekend I updated and ordered a new Restoring Integrity to Virginia SO Registry Dos and Don’ts brochure (see below) since the last version was from January 2015. This 2017 version is wider, so I was able to add more restrictions and regulations than the original had.