Sex offenders in emergency shelters; notification registration. (SB1047)

Introduced By

Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake)

Progress

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

Description

Sex offenders in emergency shelters; notification registration. Provides that a registered sex offender who enters an emergency shelter designated by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and operated in response to a declared state or local emergency shall, as soon as practicable after entry, notify a member of the shelter's staff who is responsible for providing security of such person's status as a registered sex offender. The bill provides that any person who fails to notify the shelter's staff of his status as a registered sex offender is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill provides that the shelter's staff may access the publicly available information on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry regarding such person and use such information to ensure the safety of all persons in the shelter. The bill requires that the Department of State Police provide to any registered sex offender at the time of his initial registration a summary of his obligation to inform the staff of an emergency shelter of his status as a registered sex offender. Read the Bill »

Status

01/21/2019: In Committee

History

DateAction
12/02/2018Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19100422D
12/02/2018Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/2019Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/14/2019Committee substitute printed 19104817D-S1
01/15/2019Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/16/2019Read second time
01/16/2019Reading of substitute waived
01/16/2019Committee substitute agreed to 19104817D-S1
01/16/2019Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB1047S1
01/17/2019Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/21/2019Placed on Calendar
01/21/2019Read first time
01/21/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice

Comments

Mary D. Devoy writes:

I’m sure there will be other 2019 versions at least a House (Companion) bill submitted for now I will just address the issues with SB1047.

Issues:
1. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to deny entry to ANY VSP Registered Sex Offender (RSO) in the midst of a natural disaster and perhaps a mandatory evacuation order.
- Where are they supposed to go?
2. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to segregate VSP Registered Sex Offenders from the rest of the evacuees.
- What happens if the RSO is a juvenile, they can’t remain with their parent/guardian?
- What happens if the RSO is disabled or elderly and needs a family member to care for them in the shelter?
3. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to separate the VSP Registered Sex Offender from their family members even if they are caring for a child or a disabled or elderly family member or friend.
4. The current verbiage allows for the shelter staff to deny entry to ANY VSP Registered Sex Offender in the midst of a natural disaster and perhaps a mandatory evacuation order.
- Where is the VSP RSO expected to go in the middle of a flood or hurricane?
- What happens to their family members or friends that came with them and may need care by the RSO?
5. The current verbiage makes non-notification to shelter staff a misdemeanor offense. I personally believe they would have made it a felony but that would require a Fiscal Impact Statement to budget the cost of imprisonment.

Not declaring a past criminal conviction in a public setting should NOT result in a crime.
People with past convictions for murder, assault, domestic violence, gang activity, drugs, domestic violence, stalking and thief aren’t being required to do this, so why RSO’s when they have the second lowest recidivism rate of all of these crimes or for murder, which is the lowest re-offense all per US DOJ https://restoringintegritytovirginiaregistry.blogspot.com/p/national-u.html

6. If the State wants VSP Registered Sex Offenders to notify shelter staff of their status or face a criminal punishment then the VSP MUST disseminate/ notify ALL VSP RSO’s of this new retroactive mandate prior to the law taking effect on July 1, 2019.
We know as of Dec 2018 (https://restoringintegritytovirginiaregistry.blogspot.com/2018/12/we-already-do-it-well-do-it-through.html) that the VSP can print, stuff, stamp and mail off letters to the entire VSP SOR population within a 2-week timeframe and for approximately $14,000 far less than a FIS ($50,000+).

SB1047 bill is using the Virginia Stet Police Sex Offender Registry as a tool of punishment NOT administration (which is a Constitutional violation) because SB1047 comes with a misdemeanor punishment, it allows the shelter to deny entry and it could mean family members are separated during a disaster solely because of the VSP SOR listing not because of current behavior or actions at the shelter, which the shelter can already use to remove unruly people.

So, what can be done with this bill?

There are 2 Solutions:
Option 1, oppose this bill because it’s not based on any facts or actual need just political and public fear and hate of those listed on the VSP SOR. Kill the Bill!
Option 2, amend this bill.

Delete:
Line 18 Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Lines 24-26
2. That the Department of State Police shall provide to any person required to register on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry at the time of his initial registration a summary of the provisions of this act.

Add:
Lines 24-31 No person shall be denied entry into an emergency shelter solely on the basis of his status as a registered sex offender unless such entry is otherwise prohibited by law.
An emergency shelter may not isolate a registered sex offender away from his family members. Such family members may accompany a registered sex offender who resides in an emergency shelter
2. That the Department of State Police shall provide to any person required to register on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry the Department of State Police shall notify any person who is already required to register pursuant to § 9.1-901 as set forth by the provisions of this act prior 27 to July 1, 2019 when this new law would take effect.

Pick one and contact your Virginia Senator today!

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