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ACSOLCaliforniaJanice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: SB 267 – We Did It

We did it! We stopped Senate Bill 267!! And now for the rest of the story.

Prior to the hearing on SB 267, California RSOL was invited for the first time to join two like minded organizations for meetings in the offices of all seven members of the Public Safety Committee. We didn’t have appointments. We just stopped by.

The reception we received from the two sides of the aisle were starkly different. We were warmly welcomed into the Democratic offices where we heard they had received lots of letters and phone calls. We met in those offices with THE staffer responsible for public safety issues who would be speaking to “the boss” about SB 267 before he/she voted on the bill at the committee hearing. In direct contrast, we hit a brick wall in the Republican offices. No one was available to meet with us.

When we finished, we believed we had 5 out of 7 votes in favor of our position, that is, opposed to SB 267. The next 18 hours dragged on as we hoped that no one would change his/her vote because we needed at least 4 votes to win.

When we arrived at the committee hearing the next morning, we were surprised to learn that instead of being the third bill to be heard, SB 267 would be the first. That meant no warm ups, no way to gauge the moods of the committee member before the bill was heard.

The hearing started out, as always, with the author of the bill and those who supported it. In this case, Senator Connie Leyva stated her reason for the bill was to protect children by keeping them away from sex offenders. She was joined by two representatives from San Bernardino County and, you guessed it, the City of Carson.

When the committee chair asked, there were no others to voice support for the bill. The committee chair then asked for those who were opposed to the bill. The three organizations who visited offices together on Monday (ACLU, Housing CA, and CA RSOL) rushed to the “podium” and spoke first.

As soon as the first speaker finished, he left the “podium” and the next person appeared. Before it was over, there were at least 15 people speaking in opposition to SB 267, the largest number of people speaking in opposition to a Public Safety bill according to a stranger in crowd. We had them outnumbered 5 to 1. Yet there was doubt.

The doubt disappeared, however, when Senator Mark Leno began to speak. He is an expert on our policy issues and it showed. He let those who attended the hearing know that SB 267 would not achieve the goal it had set. He let them know that a recent report of the California Sex Offender Management Board (CA SOMB) stated unequivocally that there is no research that shows that exclusions zones are helpful and in fact can lead to a decrease in public safety.

Senator Leno reminded everyone that the legislature created CASOMB as the state’s experts on sex offender policy and noted that the legislature has often ignored CASOMB’s reports and recommendations. The senator then urged the committee to heed CASOMB’s remarks regarding exclusion zones as well as CASOMB’s recommendations to create a tiered registry.

That was a gift. And perhaps it is a gift that can keep on giving. Perhaps we can use the momentum we now have, after stopping not one, but two bills, in the state legislature to move closer to a tiered registry. It may not happen this year but we could use this year to increase collaboration with more like-minded organizations as well as encourage more registered citizens and those who love them to Show Up – Speak Up – Stand Up.

When that happens, we will be ready to join the 46 states in the nation that already have tiered registries.

– Janice Bellucci

Real all Janice’s Journal entries

Join the discussion

  1. Double A

    Thank you again Janice, everyone at CA RSOL, and everyone who made an effort to get this bill withdrawn. I was concerned that SB 267 was guaranteed to become law. Fortunately there are some educated and rational thinking legislators. Hopefully we can ride this momentum and get more of our civil rights restored.

    I know Janice isn’t thinking about her legacy or her place in history, but in my heart and because of my situation to me she is one of the great civil rights activists. Not many would stick their neck out to help registered citizens, but for the past few years Janice has been doing such a noble job in protecting our rights. I can’t say thank you enough. Janice you are truly my hero.

    FYI Janice… I was the person who showed up at the meeting in LA at 9 instead of 10 :). I don’t know if you remember, but that was me.

  2. G4Change

    I watched the video of this hearing. Two things:

    1) Thank you and God Bless each of you who showed up and spoke up!!!

    2) MARK LENO FOR GOVERNOR!!!!!!!

    • David

      I second that nomination! Leno for Governor!

    • NPS

      I would support Mark Leno 100%. However, I highly doubt that most of Southern California would vote for him simply because he is openly gay. Plus, Sen. Leno still has another year and a half before he is termed out.

      As for governor, I believe my former mayor Gavin Newsom will be running. I truly believe he would be open to a tiered registry since he has before challenged the Californian populace when he made gay marriage legal in San Francisco. Did it hurt his image? Of course, but it didn’t stop him from getting elected as Lt. Gov.

      David Chiu who succeeded Ammiano could be another person in legislature to be approached for tier support.

  3. Mike B

    So many thanks to those involved. I can’t believe the changes that have been going on. I only thought there was one direction 11yrs ago, from difficult to much worse. I can’t believe how well I’ve been able to move on and forward over the last few years. Many many many thanks for your efforts Janice!

  4. Nicholas Maietta

    What a relief! A big THANK YOU to the team at California RSOL and to everyone who reached out via letters, emails and phone calls to voice their concern and opposition to this now withdrawn senate bill.

    The pendulum has started swinging the other way and this is more proof that is happening, at least in California.

  5. Jo

    I know you will shy from the comparisons to Mother Teresa, but Janice, you have to wear it. We are a weary, war-torn bunch, put down, beat down, spit upon and despised. No other former convict has as much hatred, vitriol and disdain as we. YOU have no reason to stand for us other than its the right thing to do. And for that, you are loved and revered not by the masses, but us few. Thank you.

  6. Suffered & Suffering

    Janice and everyone at RSOL – THANK YOU for all your work on our behalf and the behalf of our families. We’ve suffered too much and too long this injustice. The fight must go on. THANK YOU.

  7. mike r

    Loved the hearing it gives me hope to hear leno talk about how they have ignored CASOMB recommendations year after year. Finally someone with the courage and sense speaking out for commen sense approach. ACLU did an incredible job citing CASOMB which is key to change. Thanks Janice and all that spoke a.d stepped up. The issue and time is ripe for the registry to be overturned let’s all pray and support WARS effort in the upcoming class action and continue to support rsol ACLU and all the rest that are doing the right thing and fighting for good of all of us.

    • Frank B

      Hello,

      Can you elaborate on the class action lawsuit? I apologize but I am not aware of it and would like to research it and possibly participate.

      Than you

    • Anonymous Nobody

      A huge problem about the ACLU in this issue is that the ACLU has NEVER outright opposed registration. I have personally had ACLU lawyers tell me they are not against it. What they are doing here is simply toning it down bit – and making it clear that what remains is perfectly fine. They are not opposed to use having to continue to register for at least a minimum of 10 years – they think this is legitimate. And that is serving to lead us down the wrong road.

      It is NOT legitimate! We are getting led down a path on which we are agreeing that registration is fine and dandy, just tone down some of the most extreme aspects of it, the rest is fine. It is NOT!

      We can not be citing CASOMB as having it right – they do not have it right. They simply have it a bit less than it is now while preserving and building the organization to to do the evil assessments and keep us under their thumb – that is not right, that is not at all close enough to acceptable,and it is only building a bureaucracy to lobby against us going forward – they will never say that their jobs should be eliminated. We have to stop citing them as being right — they are WRONG!

      We can cite them and push to go to these very misguided tiers — but we must add that it is not at all a reasonable place to stop, but do that for the moment, and we will work on the rest. We cannot ever agree with them that registration is either acceptable or necessary — there is no form of registration that is not punishment, no matter how the courts might want to lie, and no matter how someone who doesn’t have to registration might not understand that! But we are implicitly saying that if we merely go to this tiers and assessments, that is sufficient, that is are our goal,we consider that to be fine. No, it is not fine.

      When we argue like that, we cannot go back later and expect to be taken seriously with an argument that we want more. Not once we already have signaled that this is acceptable, this is enough. They are not going to stick their necks out when we are already in agreement that the tiers are sufficient, are enough, even if we change our song later.

      But we are not saying as we push these tiers that they, too, are unacceptable. We are not saying that nothing less than conforming to federal – which we can’t go below — is acceptable. We keep pushing these tiers as what we want, what is right, and thus implicitly assert it as the end game, and that is only committing suicide!

      Post-probation or post-parole registration is not acceptable — probation and parole are the legal standard to test, no further testing that is the equivalent of lifetime parole or temporary extension of parole is acceptable. Especially not as we in the same breath are pointing out that state studies show only about 3% of registrants reoffend. How can you justify or argue for any registration ever with such a low recidivism rate as that!? How can we be arguing that only 3% of all registrants reoffend, and so yes, we agree that even for minor offenses, even for all the offenses California requires registration that the feds do not require it, we should have to register for no less than 10 years!? Ten years is NOT a blip! Ten years is a hell of a long time, a life can be completely undermined and ruined in 10 years!

      Our argument here has been very short sighted.

  8. Mark Judkins

    Many, many thanks to Janice and Senator Mark Leno. My world was a different place without the efforts of Janice. She has given hope and restored many of my civil rights. She has made a difference that I thought could never happen. I have donated to CA RSOL to further advance our cause. I would hope that everyone that has benefited from the opposition to SB 267 and AB 201 will do the same. We won this battle, but the war is not over. We still have the cities of Carson and Murrietta to fix! And no doubt there will be other cities and counties that decide to ignore the law.

  9. Clark

    The Constitution works …team works…..democracy works with an open public hearing procedure unlike the backhall conference changing record, readback record secluded closed from open public court procedure and slipped in false jury instructions from open court proceeding discussion orange county, calif style…..court proceedings like that you don’t need the accused to show up for court…its done without you being present ANYWAYS ………and that is the major difference here ……an open public process proceeding can WIN….its good for democracy …its good for our Constitution.

  10. mike r

    We need a study to determine the exact number of high risk violent offenders compared to all other offenders just to be able to cite such statistics would benefit our cause I beleive. There is no such statistics that I can find I beleive there should be such statistics in order to make informed decisions. It’s a major piece of information that is lacking.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      Congratulations Janice and everyone who wrote letter or called the lawmakers. Janice and everyone else should feel very good about these results.

      Mike r, we already have what you want. Its called the “recidivism rate.” And according to that, there are hardly ANY high risk sex offenders – the belief that there are is just a myth! And in fact, if there were, there would be a hell of a lot more than something around 100,000 registrants, as the registry catches everyone going all the way back to 1947!

      And that is one BIG reason against the proposed tiers. The tiers are going to “assess” a lot of people as medium to high risk when hardly any sex offenders actually are that.

      In fact, those who were paroled had to be assessed by the parole board — which spent a lot of time and years getting to know them better than anyone who subsequently will be assessing them — as being safe to be in the community and not likely to reoffend. As such, how can we then promote creation of a bureacracy to assess registrants much more harshly!? While this is a well intentioned effort, it is highly misguided.

      Rather than an assessment, it should simply be a certain time since conviction based on the particular offense, after which the registration requirement simply expires, no application to stop needed (they already know how long it is since your conviction!), no assessment (other than to go to a lower tier).

      And no one should be stuck in a tier for 20 years! And 10 years in no way is acceptable as the lowest tier! Certainly not unless all those not required to register by the feds (which is a awful lot of the registrants in California) are out of registration altogether. (California can’t do less than 10 years for the others because the feds require that.) Why in hell should a misdemeanor indecent exposure have to register for 10 years! And be subject to an assessment for that!?

      The point of supporting these tiers is not that tiers are good; it is because it is the only idea being discussed that can end registration somehow. But it is not a good idea, certainly not as proposed. Assessments for this are pure evil! And a huge builder of a bureacracy. Every last person hired into the bureacracy is in effect a paid lobbyist against us! This is Trojan horse.

      Also, these tiers must not be linked to how long one has registered, but only to how long since time of conviction (or maybe time of release from prison). The only justification for tiers is the passage of time, and time is all it should be about — you have not been convicted of another offense for 10 years, OK, its all over. Anything else will only bring very undesirable and unexpected results,such as instead of letting you end at 10 years, a devious board decides to instead assess you at a higher tier and make you continue! And tiers certainly should not be linked to how long one has registered IN CALIFORNIA, as is the case for a COR ever since a court decided that and then the Legislature added that language into 290 — no one ever thought of that before the court decided to deny a COR on that basis. And the proposal for these tiers is not thinking of all the possibilities either.

      Those not required to register by federal law should be out from under it at end of probation and 1203.4relief, or end of parole. Others should get only the minimum required under federal law, and that without assessments, no matter what state the register in, in fact, regardless of how many years they register, only measured from time of conviction(or maybe from time of release on parole).

      Instead, we are proposing longer time frames than the feds require, we are proposing registration for people the feds don’t require it, we are basically saying we support registration, as long as it is only for a duration of decades, we are supporting assessments that go contrary to that of the parole board and to the recidivism rate, and we are demanding a huge bureaucracy to lobby against us b created! That’s insane! That is very misguided.

  11. sadandmad

    awesome!

    thanks Janice and Senator!

    I hope to donate next paycheck!

  12. Ostracized Witch

    Kudos Janice!! You and CARSOL are my saviors!! You are my primary advocates to reform the laws affecting offenders whose crime was categorized as sexual in nature (and therefore reprehensible by the conservatives in the populace). Next, I pray you are finally able to get Tiered Registration.

  13. anonymously

    NPS said “As for governor, I believe my former mayor Gavin Newsom will be running. I truly believe he would be open to a tiered registry since he has before challenged the Californian populace when he made gay marriage legal in San Francisco. Did it hurt his image? Of course, but it didn’t stop him from getting elected as Lt. Gov.”

    I don’t believe that at all since Chris Kelly got to him apparently as shown by his support for Prop 35. The same guy who doesn’t want people who would advocate for a tiered registry to have political free speech to advocate on the internet for a tiered registry is not going to want a tiered registry, I wouldn’t think. Plus, 1 in 4 SF voters voted to ban gay marriage, so by coming out against prop 8 he solidified his base and didn’t do much to hurt himself with his non-base since Prop 8 passed initially 52-48%, not supporting the opposition to an overwhelming landslide, and polls indicate Prop 8, today, would not pass if voted on.

  14. anonymously

    Anonymous Nobody said “Rather than an assessment, it should simply be a certain time since conviction based on the particular offense, after which the registration requirement simply expires, no application to stop needed (they already know how long it is since your conviction!), no assessment (other than to go to a lower tier).”

    The devil is always in the details. But, I didn’t see any proposal of an assessment for everyone based on anything other than the offense itself. I think I recall a chart indicating which offenses go into which tier. It was Oregon’s new tiering that required an assessment interview for 4,000 offenders. I didn’t see anything in the proposal for California of that. I also didn’t see any mention of an exit assessment. I think the California proposal is exactly what you claim it should be, except for how the time required to be relieved of registration is counted.

    Anonymous Nobody also said “registration, as long as it is only for a duration of decades, we are supporting assessments that go contrary to that of the parole board and to the recidivism rate, and we are…”

    If an assessment based on the Static-99 is the assessment, then I agree this is not a good idea. In the static-99, you get a point for any violent non-sex offense. Could that include someone atacking you for being a registrant, then the cops arrest you for defending yourself, and then you are regarded as higher risk to commit a sex offense. Or a bar fight gets you a higher Static-99 score. As long as the Static-99 or something similarly bogus is not part of the equation, I think California tiering is a good idea.

    • David

      Don’t forget, Static-99 is gay-hating*: RCs get scored one point higher if the victim was male. Or are the creators of Static-99 suggesting that female victimization is less egregious/more acceptable? That’s just plain wrong in either case!
      (*Homophobia is an ‘excuse term’ that allows haters to plea fearfulness.)

    • steve

      An assessment review of EVERYONE is the only way to accurately apply a tier system.

      • Timmr

        Whether it is statistics based on type of offense or some other measure, it is always unfair to those individuals who don’t every re-offend to make them register as if they are guilty of a future crime they will never commit.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      The assessments are already being done. They are to be used for the tiers. They are able to assess more than the simple charge on which you were convicted. The proposal is supposed to include the ability to apply for being reassessed into a lower tier.

      You have to apply to be able to stop registration – and that is a real detail for the devil. They can do what they want with assessments then or in the meantime. I can see George Runner being named chairman of the assessments, and he might have a very different outlook about them than we do. That is the kind of devil in the details we are failing to see.

      If there is any ability to intervene or make any arguments about a registrant’s danger, it will happen. And as long as you have to file for to be allowed to stop registering, they will challenge you. When you apply to get off, there is nothing stopping the prosecutors from doing what they do with a COR, and raising hell about what a danger you are and how you should be reassessed to a higher level and made to keep registering – that is left wide open, that is one of the invisible details that are being missed, all because of the assessments, and also an issue of linking the time frame to the years of registration rather than the years from conviction or at least from release, and also because of the requirement that the registrant file for relief.

      If you have to apply, you can be undermined. And this proposal includes an application at the time you want to stop. If the time frame is linked to years of registration rather than time from offense, then, among other things, you will be limited in your movement, as either moving out of state or even out of the country for a period could prevent you from getting relieved of registration, as it has prevented people from getting a COR.

  15. Cool CA RSO

    another WIN for RC (RSO)

  16. Cool CA RSO

    If we keep this up and keep donating I would not be surprised if California actually become the 1st state to REMOVE Megan’s law.
    Let’s make this happen!

  17. mike r

    I agree a tiering system is unacceptable and shouldn’t be considered any type of win the registry needs to go and I think its possible let’s hope wars efforts prove favorable.

  18. Q

    Did anyone else notice that the majority of the reasons stated for the need for SB 267 were reasons that have been proven to be not true or plain ol myth by years of statistics and research? The one that was really sounding like desperation was the statement about “unreported sex crimes.” That statement shouldn’t be allowed to be part of the dialog because it is so obviously manipulation (attempt to instill fear) and trying to sound knowledgeable about something they couldn’t possibly know anything about since it is not reported. That statement is on a level with the statements about “stranger danger;” something that is untrue, only the “unreported sex crimes” statement is unprovable, just like allot of other things said about people forced to register as a sex offender.

  19. anonymously

    NPS, I didn’t mean to diss you, but as I reread my posting maybe it came off that way. Sorry for the sarcastic tone. I really can’t get over his support for Prop 35, but he did do some positive things. His support for gay marriage is positive. His admitting he was wrong on his Giuliani-modelled tough on crime platform that got him elected Mayor of San Francisco is another example. All it took was the backlash to the cameras he put up on streetcorners. Newsom , like I am hoping John Roberts is, is able to re-evaluate things and admit when he’s wrong and change his mind when better judgement occurs. Unlike Bloomberg, who is such a zealot, who opposes TPP, which is something he would otherwise love, simply because TPP removes countries’ abilities to make anti-smoking laws. And Bloomberg hates smoking even more than he hates salt added to foods and sugary drinks. Newsom is not so stubborn it seems. Yes, Newsom put on a fastfood ban when he was Mayor of San Francisco, but apparently did not do it for Nannystate reasons, but did it to help small business restaurants compete against Big-Fastfood. And his slashing of General Relief to only $50 a month. At least he didn’t single out registrants , like David Vitter with Food Stamps or like what happened in Prop 47 and the Chris Kelly’ buddy Marty Block’s proposal to exempt failure to register, as well as DUI’s, violent crimes, gun crimes from being treated as infractions, instead of misdemeanors. Again, sorry for the condescending attitude.

    • NPS

      Anonymously,

      Thank you for your message. I really didn’t take it as a diss. I pretty much understood your original comment as a different take on Lt. Gov. Newsome. I really respect him because he’s made mistakes and actually took ownership of it. He upset not only the religious right by coveting thy neighbor’s wife (which I’m surprised hasn’t been made an illegal registrable offense with these puritanical views on sex) but even the non-secular crowd when he broke the ultimate “bro code” by sleeping with his friend’s wife. He’s one of few politicians who actually admits his mistakes and has bounced back from it. I voted for him during his run for mayor and as Lt. Governor. He really does re-evaluate his stance on issues both big and small.

  20. Frank B

    Janice,

    Thank you for your efforts on this and the defeat of SB 267. I was happy to participate in the letter writing campaign. I would like to assist anyway that I can in the future, please keep us informed of any volunteer opportunities. Let’s stop this unconstitutional and unfair treatment that is only for political gain. I spoke to a CASOMB member recently and he told me straight up that this is all political and unfortunately the main thing that will bring about change is finances and the cost of the programs to the state.

  21. Cool CA RC

    Remember the movie Shawshank Redemption?

    This part….

    “Dear Mr. Dusfrane,In response to your repeated inquiries the state has allocated the inclosed funds for your library project. ‘this is $200!’ In addition the library district has generously responded with a generous donation of used books and sundries. We consider this matter closed. Please stop sending us letters.”

    “Good for you Andy” –Guard
    “It only took six years, from now on I’ll write two letters a week.” – Andy

    Let’s write our congress 2 times a week. By email, Fax or snail mail.

    To find your California legislators click the link below

    http://www.legislature.ca.gov/legislators_and_districts/legislators/your_legislator.html

    To find your USA Congress representatives
    http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

    How to write to your congress?
    Here is one example,
    http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2008/02/sample-letter-1.html

    To get a free Fax Google “free fax” they have a list of fax you can sent to your congress FREE.

    Maybe in 6 years from now we will have our FREEDOM!!! No more Megan’s LAW!!

    Let’s ‘s get those fax out TODAY

  22. Garrett

    People there’s a petition on change.org to abolish the registry, make sure you sign it!

    https://www.change.org/p/abolish-the-sex-offender-registry

    Thanks

  23. Timmr

    I just received a polite letter from a member of the Senate Public Safety Committee. He thanked me for my opinion, but he also said that SB 267 is “currently awaiting action by the Senate Committee on Public Safety.” (letter dated May 28). I thought it was withdrawn. The author changed his mind? Any news?

  24. Timmr

    Eh, maybe he is getting it confused with SB54?

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