Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry; Supplement to Registry. (HB1353)

Introduced By

Del. David Ramadan (R-South Riding) with support from 14 copatrons, whose average partisan position is:

Those copatrons are Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), Del. Jeff Campbell (R-Marion), Del. James Edmunds (R-South Boston), Del. Buddy Fowler (R-Ashland), Del. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg), Del. Tag Greason (R-Potomac Falls), Del. Chris Head (R-Roanoke), Del. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna), Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg), Del. Marcus Simon (D-Falls Church), Del. Ron Villanueva (R-Virginia Beach), Del. Tony Wilt (R-Harrisonburg), Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (Robby's Rule). Requires the Superintendent of State Police to establish and maintain a supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry that would include the names of persons who have committed offenses that would require registration if the offense occurred today, but who are not otherwise required to register. Any attorney for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officer may submit a request to the Department of State Police to include a person on the supplement to the Registry. Upon receipt of a request, the Department of State Police must confirm whether the person should be included on the supplement to the Registry. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

DateAction
12/02/2014Committee
12/02/2014Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15100247D
12/02/2014Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/13/2015Assigned Courts sub: Criminal Law
01/13/2015Impact statement from DPB (HB1353)
01/27/2015Assigned Courts sub: Criminal Law
01/28/2015Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (11-Y 0-N)
02/04/2015Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (20-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2015Committee substitute printed 15104484D-H1
02/06/2015Read first time
02/09/2015Read second time
02/09/2015Committee substitute agreed to 15104484D-H1
02/09/2015Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB1353H1
02/10/2015Impact statement from DPB (HB1353H1)
02/10/2015Read third time and passed House (93-Y 6-N)
02/10/2015VOTE: PASSAGE (93-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2015Constitutional reading dispensed
02/11/2015Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/16/2015Reported from Courts of Justice with amendment (13-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/17/2015Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2015Read third time
02/18/2015Reading of amendment waived
02/18/2015Committee amendment agreed to
02/18/2015Engrossed by Senate as amended
02/18/2015Passed Senate with amendment (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2015Placed on Calendar
02/20/2015Senate amendment rejected by House (0-Y 96-N)
02/20/2015VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 96-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2015Senate insisted on amendment (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2015Senate requested conference committee
02/25/2015House acceded to request
02/25/2015Conferees appointed by House
02/25/2015Delegates: Ramadan, Albo, Torian
02/25/2015Conferees appointed by Senate
02/25/2015Senators: McDougle, Stanley, Edwards
02/26/2015C Amended by conference committee
02/26/2015Conference report agreed to by Senate (35-Y 3-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2015Conference report agreed to by House (91-Y 5-N)
02/26/2015VOTE: ADOPTION (91-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
03/06/2015Enrolled
03/06/2015Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1353ER)
03/06/2015Impact statement from DPB (HB1353ER)
03/06/2015Signed by Speaker
03/07/2015Signed by President
03/10/2015Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 3/10/15
03/10/2015G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, Sunday, March 29, 2015
03/26/2015G Approved by Governor-Chapter 594 (effective 7/1/15)
03/26/2015G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0594)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 3 clips in all, totaling 6 minutes.

Comments

Mary Devoy writes:

The 2014 version Of Robby’s Rule had a $1.69 Million fiscal impact so it’s only reasonable the 2015 version will be at least that much, right? And Virginia is currently in a $2.4 billion deficit. Since Delegate Ramadan dusted off the same text from Robby’s Rule 2014 for the 2015 version, I might as well dust of my 2014 comments for 2015.

Why reinvent the wheel?

First off bills in Virginia should never be named to memorialize or honor anyone!
History has shown that State and Federal bills tagged as such have a much greater chance at being passed into law even when they are riddled with flaws, violations, are vague / left open to interpretation or promote prejudice and myths about “those” people that “we” are allowed to routinely banish and shame. Why? Because no lawmakers wants to be the heartless “nay” vote appearing to be unsupportive of victims of crime and supportive of offenders. Naming laws after victims reinforces the idea that justice is a personal matter, a settling of scores between the victim and the offender, justice is supposed to be blind.

Second, after watching the NBC Washington's January 4, 2014 story we know Robby reported his abuse/crime to authorities in 2007, the abuse occurred "3 decades ago" and the perpetrator was his T-Ball coach. Three decades ago was 1984 even though it appears Robby’s abuse was in 1978 per past articles I found on-line about his case.
In 1984 there was no Virginia Sex Offender Registry (created in 1994). In 1984 background checks were not required for coaches. In 2007 when Robby came forward both of those issues had been corrected years before. Anyone who had been convicted of a sex offense from the early 1990’s or earlier would be listed on the Virginia Registry and would never be able to become a coach. The T-Ball coach that abused Robby was convicted of another sex crime before the 1994 Registry existed, but AFTER Robby’s abuse that had not yet been reported.

Robby’s Rule is proposing that sex crimes from the 1980’s and I’m guessing the 1970’s and 60’s (I don’t know since the patron won't return my messages) would be added to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. The abusive T-Ball coach is listed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry because of Robby’s case. So my third point on this proposal is obvious, this proposal would not have prevented Robby’s abuse from occurring in 1978, this proposal to add additional/ separate convictions from 3 to 4 decade’s ago to his abusers registry posting is purely vindictive and personal. It adds NO additional protection or security to Virginia’s citizens.
So now I have a big question that must be answered about this proposal before it can move forward.

Will HB1353 add anyone new to the Virginia Registry or will in just add very old conviction information to those already listed?

The answer to the above question must be known ahead of time because if it adds people who are not currently listed on the Registry there would be:
•Due process issues
•Ex post facto issues
•Serious barriers for Virginians who reentered society decades ago, successfully
•The additional cost for the VSP to monitor and manage additional RSO's every year for the rest of their life

But because of this verbiage within the text "but who are not otherwise required to register" I believe additional people would be added to the Virginia Registry and if that is the case then the following collateral issues arise.

These “New” Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) would now be required to abide by the ever changing and expanding restrictions and regulations imposed upon Virginia’s RSO’s and any slip up no matter how minor or unintended carries a Felony charge.
The “New” RSO’s would need the same monitoring as all the current RSO’s. So how many of these “New” RSO’s who have not committed a new crime in years or even decades would now receive a certified letter to register every 90 days, would now need a VSP Compliance Officer to visit their residence twice a year and confirm their employment every time it changes, to take their photo every two years plus all the address, phone number, vehicle and email additions and subtractions over then next 20, 30 or 40 years?

How many Virginians if this bill passes would not be permitted to drop off or pick up their own children or grandchildren from daycare or school? How many would now loose a job or a career they’ve held for years because their current employer won’t want to be listed on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. Without a job these Virginians will not be able to provide for themselves or their family.

How many Virginians that would now be RSO’s will be evicted from their rental property or not be allowed to renew their lease because no landlord wants to deal with the tenants complaining about an RSO living next door. Without a home for themselves or their families many spouses and significant others of these new RSO’s will crack under the stress and leave. The support system and family dynamic for most of these Virginians will disappear as soon as this bill becomes law.

Citizens of the Commonwealth who have not committed a new crime in years, who have the second lowest recidivism rate of all crimes, who are living their lives, supporting and raising their families will be arbitrarily penalized by this bill. The collateral consequences trickle down to their spouses, their parents, their significant others, their roommates, their children, their employers and their landlords.

Finally this proposal if it does in fact add additional citizens to the Virginia Registry runs contrary to the Governors Prisoner Re-Entry Commission, removing barriers that hinder former felons from becoming successful, productive citizens.
This proposal is costly to the state and to the people being swept up by it. This bill is based on myth, hype, fear, hate and vengeance not on any facts.

Rickey Moore writes:

This bill may cause far more damage that it prevents.
1.) It presents a false sense of security, when a parent, guardian or custodian thinks that because of a "list", that they have identified every possible offender of their child and cease being vigilant. In fact, over 90% of all new victims are offended by family members, friends of family or those who are in positions of authority, who are not on any list.

2,) Since new offenders are in the list I mention, the victims and their families might be less likely to report a possible offense, due to the draconian nature of this bill and others like it.

3.) Until there is an open process of review and panels for offenders to appear and appeal to, for adjustment to their reporting levels, in my mind it is less "legal" when there is no hope of redemption based on conduct and character afterwards. Everyone ought to be able to improve themselves and become redeemed by society, and welcomed back as a full member.

4.) Read Mark 5:15-20 to read about redemption, even of the worst offender. This bill reminds of of the town folk who begged Jesus to depart. Merely putting someone on a list is cheaper than the two thousand pigs investment of time and effort.

Safer Virginia writes:

No evidence exists that creating the list will reduce, much less prevent, sexual abuse. The bill is punitive in nature, adversely affecting employment opportunities for citizens likely already marginalized in society. State government should not be burdened with managing a list of offenders unless there is clear and convincing evidence of its positive effect on public safety. The bill likely violates Virginia's Bill of Rights, Section 9. Prohibition of excessive bail and fines, cruel and unusual punishment, suspension of habeas corpus, bills of attainder, and ex post facto laws.

In light of the potential fear community notification may cause, public awareness policies should be accompanied by prevention campaigns with empirically driven information about the causes of offending and trends in victimization…registration and notification have little hope of making children and adults safer from sexual victimization and murder.
Wright, Richard Gordon. "The Failure of Sex Offender Policies." Introduction. Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions. New York: Springer Pub., 2009. 237. Print.

Virginia is one of only six states that create a negative employment incentive by publicly listing a registrant’s employer's name and full business address. Twenty-nine states promote a business-friendly environment by omitting the inclusion of employment information on their sex offender registries.

Most studies show that community notification appears to limit employment opportunities for up to half of RSOs (registered sex offenders).
Levenson, Jill, and Richard Tewksbury. "Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders." American Journal of Criminal Justice 34.1-2 (2009): 54-68. Print.

Helen Gregory writes:

Always pass laws to protect every one. How about passing a law to protect a person from false allegations. Nothing is done to protect them. Had a law been in place maybe Jonathan Montgomery would not have lost 4 years of his young life to false allegations.

Mary Devoy writes:

Everyone watching and opposing this bill be aware there is a Senate version with very little differences and all the same problems, SB934 patroned by Senator Wexton.

Mary Devoy writes:

….and now SB1074 patroned by Senator McDougle everyone’s hoping on the bandwagon it appears it will be a busy session for me.

Mary Devoy writes:

Virginian Pilot Editorial Board, January 31, 2015
http://hamptonroads.com/2015/01/bowing-gun-lobby?sp-tk=A6738309E7C5658C92D2E62975F6C870EBA376685CC49DA7F7FAE228AC6AA3A2C0E8307A2C808BD17DCB6101BC83A44B36248EFD327FDF1DD237A5F491887DF68ED284C5D8488D00DE885A103B89DF54480616D29F09CE1126505B560A614604317D10F3CFAC21EB3183CF509598A29AEAE326FB015108D673DF47E7DEE21D323151B9438EBD9C01B850F6E427A309E0F228F0F45A419852F82E715CF2C3329CEB3D7D38

MISS More scarlet letters

Virginia's sex offender registry is supposed to protect the public by identifying the names, residences and crimes of people convicted of rape and other sex crimes. It's supposed to lessen the chance that a sex offender has access to children.

But now the General Assembly is considering adding a supplemental list of people convicted of sex offenses between 1980 and 1994.

Much is wrong with this plan, starting with due process. The registry did not exist when the offenders were convicted; singling them out now, decades after their crime, is wrong.

And then there's the likelihood of mistaken identities. The State Police would operate the public site, a depository of old court records, without updating the information because of concerns about cost and constitutionality.

That means zip codes from as long ago as 35 years would be listed as home to sex offenders. Offenders would be identified using decades-old names, weights and hair colors.

What happens if a name is similar to someone who now lives in the same zip code? He gets publicly tagged as a sex offender. Employers, landlords, neighbors will take note.

What happens if someone convicted a quarter-century ago has been rehabilitated, has a good job and a life? Is it fair to put his conviction on the sex offender site and jeopardize his successful re-entry to society?

The bill should die.

Mary Devoy writes:

Virginia Robby’s’ Rule 2015 HB1353 (House version) was on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee agenda on February 16th.

The 16th would have been the LAST time the public could have spoken ‘for’ or ‘against’ the bill.

But instead the Senate Courts of Justice Committee took a large number of identical (House to Senate) bills and incorporated them as identical, NOT allowing public comment including HB1353 Robby’s Rule.

The sponsor of HB1353 Delegate Ramadan didn’t even come to the Senate hearing to present his bill so it was obviously common knowledge amongst the Legislators that HB1353 would NOT be discussed and public comment would NOT be allowed.

So it appears if there is a similar (companion) bill in the opposite chamber SB1074 and both chambers pass their version then when the second version comes to Committee, they just make them identical and take the attitude that a second discussion and public comment is NOT necessary. If citizens couldn’t show up the first time around or were aware of the bill, too bad so sad the Legislature doesn’t care what the public has to say!

FYI Virginians, show up in-person to speak when a bill is being heard in the first chamber instead of waiting to see if it makes it to the second chamber because if it passed the first chamber unanimously the second chamber is just gonna give it a rubber stamp!

So much for open Government in the Commonwealth.