Virginia Delegates and Senators,
Recently there have been some important court rulings on our issues which I have not shared with you.
Today I would like to share 3 articles that have posted in the last 24 hours, they are below.
The first is from yesterday: West Virginia declined becoming Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA compliant. They have joined New York, California, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota and North Dakota who have also stated they will not become AWA compliant. When it comes to state like N.Y. and C.A their loss of the 10% Byrne Grant is millions of dollars not $400,000 to $600,000. Then there are states that have followed the AWA federal mandate to be certified by the SMART Office and now regret it like Nebraska, Missouri and Ohio. Ohio’s Supreme Court has declared multiple parts of AWA unconstitutional over the last 2 years, and as such they’ve spent millions of dollars undoing what the SMART Office directed them to do.
The second article is from Kansas where the Kansas House has just passed a bill to remove the public posting of all employers’ addresses from their sex offender registry. AWA/SORNA mandates the employer’s addresses being publicly posted so this means Kansas will not be certified as AWA compliant. Back in 2006 or 2007 New Hampshire quickly squashed a proposal to add employers’ addresses to their registry as they knew it would be counterproductive. All employment is verified by N.H. officers and their Legislature decided this to be more than sufficient, 5-6 years later they still have not added employment addresses or company names to their registry, so they will not be certified as AWA compliant.
At this years Virginia session we had a bill (HB413) to remove the employer/company names from being publicly posted on the Virginia registry, a little extra that the Commonwealth added back in 2006 which was not part of AWA/SORNA compliance. Our 2012 bill would not have removed the employer address just the company name as no employer wants to be listed on the registry as the below article states. Sadly, the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee refused to listen to reason or the data I presented on the issue. It seemed as though they took enjoyment in killing our bill and nothing presented would have been considered,
http://www.rsolvirginia.org/news/bulletin-board/posting-454/ . The decision was already made before the hearing even began.
The majority of states do not publicly list the employer/company of their offenders because they want their citizens to have a successful re-entry and to treat their small businesses and large companies fairly. Perhaps in 2013, Virginia will listen to the logic involved and do what Kansas has done this week.
The third article is just one real life example of how difficult it is to secure employment as a registered offender. Employers should not be allowed to fire a good employee simply because they are listed on the sex offender registry. If the position is not a violation of state law and they are the best candidate for the job then they deserve that job just like anyone else. Please consider action for the upcoming General Assembly to ensure no unjust burden is placed on those involved. Stability of Home and Employment are well documented factors in reducing recidivism and crime and as such are a big part of public safety. Virginia needs to stop punishing employers and small businesses who employ RSO’s by publicly shaming them with the registry posting. A successful re-entry is a success for the Commonwealth.
Mary D. Devoy
West Virginia Balks at Federal Sex Offender Rule, May 14, 2012:
Kansas House Approves Sex and Drug Bills, May 15, 2012:
Can a Sex-Offender Ever Have a Fresh Start? May 15, 2012: