Sex offenders; requires circuit court to find good cause before accepting name change applications. (HB233)

Introduced By

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) with support from co-patron Del. David Ramadan (R-South Riding)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


How name of person may be changed; sex offenders. Grants circuit courts the discretion to accept name change applications from persons on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry if the court finds that good cause exists for such application. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


12/28/2013Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/14 14101291D
12/28/2013Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/10/2014Assigned Courts sub: Civil
02/03/2014Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (10-Y 0-N)
02/07/2014Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2014Committee substitute printed 14104118D-H1
02/08/2014Read first time
02/10/2014Read second time
02/10/2014Committee substitute agreed to 14104118D-H1
02/10/2014Amendment by Delegate Bell, R.B. agreed to
02/10/2014Engrossed by House - committee substitute with amendment HB233EH1
02/10/2014Printed as engrossed 14104118D-EH1
02/11/2014Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
02/11/2014VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2014Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2014Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/17/2014Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (12-Y 1-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/17/2014Committee substitute printed 14105039D-S1
02/18/2014Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
02/19/2014Read third time
02/19/2014Reading of substitute waived
02/19/2014Committee substitute agreed to 14105039D-S1
02/19/2014Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB233S1
02/19/2014Passed Senate with substitute (39-Y 1-N)
02/19/2014Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N)
02/19/2014Passed Senate with substitute (38-Y 2-N)
02/20/2014Placed on Calendar
02/21/2014Senate substitute agreed to by House 14105039D-S1 (98-Y 0-N)
02/21/2014VOTE: ADOPTION (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/21/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB233S1)
02/25/2014Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB233ER)
02/25/2014Signed by Speaker
02/26/2014Impact statement from DPB (HB233ER)
02/27/2014Signed by President
03/17/2014G Approved by Governor-Chapter 232 (effective 7/1/14)
03/17/2014G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0232)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 2 clips in all, totaling 3 minutes.


Mary Devoy writes:

Today I was in the hearing when HB233 was being discussed I had not attended the House hearing previously since I do not oppose the proposal.

Today the patron mentioned that a Registered Sex Offender had changed his name and the victim was unable to locate him on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry because of the change. There was an article in Cville titled Dodging Google.

Now that I know what the reasoning for HB233 being proposed is I can confidently say HB233 will NOT fix the problem but I do know what will.

The Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry already lists every offenders name, nickname, alias, maiden name and married name on their posting. No registered offender in Virginia is flying under the radar.

The problem is the VSP website; it’s been an issue for the last 5.5 years that I’ve been an advocate using the registry.

The VSP search queries are basic and inferior. If the VSP would update the labels/tags and search options on their website then Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc would pick up all of the information. A search engine can only capture the tags a website has assigned.

If you’ve never searched the VSP website I suggest you do. Find a few people with multiple names (not just the one) then find a few full home addresses and write them all down. Then start a search from scratch by using a maiden name or an alias name (not the main name). Then do the same with their house number and street name (no city or zip code) or just the street name (no number). I bet you will have multiple searches that come up incomplete for the offender you just selected from the alphabet, county or zip code.

If the purpose of HB233 is to make an RSO go through a hearing to get their name changed then that is the real intent. But if the case of a Google search not providing one of the names an offender has registered with the VSP is the goal here, then HB233 does nothing to fix the problem. The VSP website needs to be coded better, labels/tags for every name listed on an offenders posting then Google will find them in a search.

Finally my only new concern with HB233 after listening to today’s debate is will it affect the legal adoption or marriages of registered offenders in Virginia. There are juveniles on our registry and if foster parents want to adopt the child and give them their last name will this new process create more problems? Or when a female registrant gets married and wants to take her husbands name will this new process create more problems? Hopefully not.

There was a VSP Representative in today’s hearing and I’m very disappointed that he did not tell the Committee members that the postings already have all offenders names listed and that I am the one who has to clear up the murky reasoning given for HB233 and an actual fix