The Tiered Registry Bill is reborn. We now have a second chance to end a 70-year-old law that requires individuals to register for a lifetime, regardless of the nature of their offense, the amount of time that has passed and whether they have re-offended.
We almost lost this opportunity when Senator Ricardo Lara, the original author of the Tiered Registry Bill, withdrew his leadership. His withdrawal came less than three weeks before an important deadline, that is, consideration by the Senate Public Safety Committee.
Those who support the Tiered Registry Bill worked hard behind the scenes to find a new author during that limited period of time. Others worked hard to gain formal support for the bill from law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs and the California District Attorneys Association.
In addition, it is reported that former state legislators, who understand the need for a Tiered Registry, helped to persuade the bill’s new author to pick up the leadership reins dropped by Senator Lara. Regardless of how and why it happened, the fact is that the Tiered Registry Bill has a new leader – Senator Scott Wiener – who was elected in 2016 and represents the City of San Francisco. Senator Wiener is a member of the State Capitol’s LGBT Caucus as well as a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and a former Deputy City Attorney.
Senator Wiener demonstrated great courage when he agreed to lead the Tiered Registry Bill. In addition, he sacrificed a bill on another subject that he had already introduced – Senate Bill 421 – in order to become the new author of this bill. He did so by removing the contents of his original bill and substituting the language of the Tiered Registry Bill.
Despite the obvious need to end the state’s lifetime registry, the Tiered Registry Bill is sure to attract opposition as it travels through the Senate and Assembly. There may, in fact, be efforts to significantly amend the bill in order to weaken its impact or its scope. We must remain vigilant in order to stop such efforts.
That is why those who will benefit from Senate Bill 421, including registrants and family members, must be heard in its support. The first test for the Tiered Registry Bill will be consideration by the Senate Public Safety Committee on April 25.
ACSOL leadership will be there. Will you?