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Janice’s Journal: Senate Bill 54 – Is the Battle Over? Maybe, Maybe Not [updated with sample letter and contact info]

The Senate Public Safety Committee conducted a hearing on June 30 during which it considered Senate Bill 54 (SB 54).  The bill, if passed, would (1) overturn a recent CA Supreme Court decision that declared blanket residency restrictions for registered citizens on parole to be unconstitutional and (2) prevent most registered citizens from obtaining judicial relief from those restrictions.

The bill would not, as described by Senator Runner’s staff, break a stalemate created by the CA Supreme Court, and prevent 5 to 10 years of litigation.  Instead, the bill would create litigation throughout the state of California.

Testimony at the June 30 hearing included opposition from 15 people including representatives of the CA Sex Offender Management Board, the Public Defenders Association, ACLU, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and California Reform Sex Offender Laws.  By comparison, the only testimony in support of the bill came from one organization — Crime Victims United — a non-profit financed by a prison guards union.

Following the testimony, Chairwoman Loni Hancock stated her opposition to the bill and encouraged the bill’s author, Senator Sharon Runner, to meet with the Sex Offender Management Board which opposes residency restrictions, in general, and SB 54, in particular.  Senators Mark Leno and Carol Liu joined Hancock in opposing the bill.

The remaining Democratic members of the Committee – Bill Monning and Steven Glazer — abstained from voting on SB 54.  Prior to abstaining, Monning noted that if the bill passed, registered citizens would require an attorney in order to seek judicial relief.  Glazer’s abstention may have been based on the fact that he has been a senator for less than a month and a member of the Public Safety Committee for even less time.

The only committee members who voted in favor of SB 54 were Senators Anderson and Stone, the two Republican members of that committee.  In order to obtain the committee’s approval and move on to the floor of the Senate, SB 54 needed four “aye” votes.  It received only two.  This led to the following headline in one daily newspaper: “Senate Panel Kills Runners Sex Offender Residency Bill.”

Why then did a different newspaper publish the headline, “Bill to Revive Restrictions on Sex Offender Housing Stalls?”  The answer is that Senator Runner requested the possibility of a second hearing on SB 54, a request that was granted – with a condition.  Senator Runner must revise SB 54 and the Senate Public Safety Committee must conduct a hearing on the revised bill no later than July 14, the date of its last hearing this year.

In order to put the final nails in the coffin of SB 54, California RSOL will send a new letter to members of the Public Safety Committee asking them to oppose this bill.  Please send your letter as well as make one more set of phone calls to the members of the Public Safety Committee no later than July 13.  Also please attend and/or testify at the committee hearing on July 14.

Once again, it’s time to Show Up – Stand Up – Speak Up.  For if you do these simple tasks, we shall overcome not someday, but on July 14.

— by Janice Bellucci

Read all of Janice’s Journal

Related

Hearing Vide0 / Audio (June 30, Senate Public Safety Committee, 2nd item on the agenda)

Party-Line Vote Kills Runner’s Sex-Offender Residency Bill

Bill To Revive Restrictions On Sex Offender Housing Stalls

—– Sample Letter to the Committee ———

[note note_color=”#ededed” radius=”2″]

*Date*

Senator *Senator Name*, Member
Senate Public Safety Committee
State Capitol Building, Room *Room #*
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator *Senator Name*:

I am writing in strong opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 54 which failed to pass the Senate Public Safety Committee during a hearing on June 30, but was granted a rehearing which may be held on July 14.

During the June 30 hearing, the author of the bill and/or her staff made false or misleading statements regarding SB 54. For example, they stated that SB 54 would only require residency restrictions to be levied against “the worst of the worst” sex offenders. The fact is that SB 54 would require more than 90 percent of those currently required to register as sex offenders to comply with residency restrictions.

In addition, they made statements that SB 54 would make it easier for a sex offender to obtain judicial relief from residency restrictions. The fact is that SB 54 would significantly reduce a judge’s discretion and make it virtually impossible for an individual to obtain judicial relief because he would be required to prove there is a “pervasive lack of compliant housing” in the county in which he resides. That requirement alone would cost the individual thousands of dollars to hire both a lawyer as well as a subject matter expert.

Further, they made statements during the hearing that SB 54 would resolve a “stalemate” caused by the recent CA Supreme Court decision, In re Taylor, and prevent 5 to 10 years of litigation. The fact is that if SB 54 becomes law, it will spawn lawsuits throughout the state of California challenging both its residency restrictions and limitations on judicial relief.

Finally, residency restrictions such as those included in SB 54 do not achieve the worthy goal of protecting children from sexual assaults. The fact is that the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB), the states’ experts on sex offender policy opposes residency restrictions because they create homelessness and transience among registered sex offenders and are the single most problematic aspect of sex offender management policy in California. In addition, CASOMB Vice-Chair Tom Tobin testified during the June 30 hearing that CASOMB is opposed to SB 54.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. For the reasons stated above I request that you and all members of the Senate Public Safety Committee vote “no” on SB 54.

Sincerely,

*your name here*

[/note]

———

Alternate Letter: SB 54 reconsideration

———–

Senate Public Safety Committee Members (Addresses under ‘Contact’ tab on each web site)

http://spsf.senate.ca.gov/

 

 

Join the discussion

  1. CA

    “Reconsideration Granted” why would they allow her to revise it again?

    • PR

      Exactly why?

      • Anonymous Nobody

        The sole reason for granting the request for another hearing is professional courtesy. They are all senators before committees with bills, and they extend courtesy to fellow senators, as they want and expect for themselves when their bills go before committees.

        What there is to fear here is that Runner will become practical and do a substantial revision so that whatever it then says will be adopted — whatever that is, it will not be god for us, even if it is not so bad as the original bill. But I’m doubtful Runner would become practical enough to get the revised bill through.

    • http404

      “Why would they allow her to revise it again?”

      To avoid headlines like one a particular newspaper ran.. “Senate Public Safety Committee Kills Sex Offender Bill.” This way it doesn’t come off appearing that they shut it down, they said it needs tweaking and they will not approve it in its current form.

      I realize my position may not be popular here but I am not 100% against residency restrictions. But if it is going to be a law in this state, then what it should look like is a judicial process for a DA to file a motion in the court for a specific individual, where they can show by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the individual poses a risk and should be subjected to residency restrictions. It’s called due process.

      Let’s be honest, out of the 100k or so in this state subjected to “registered citizen” status, most of us are just trying to go on with our lives. but there are a very small fraction of a percentage who have not learned from their mistake, and so if a means of protecting the public in this manner – with a residency restriction – is believed to be needed, then it should require due process. From what I understand SB 54 is written the opposite, so that the registered citizen must prove their case to be exempted as opposed to the DA proving their case for the restriction to be imposed.

      • curiouser

        Well put, http404. The only thing I would point out is that when it comes to such legislation against registered citizens, all it has ever taken is a “nose under the tent” to allow these laws to promulgate and mutate into what they have eventually become: blatant violations of the civil rights of a heretofore undefended minority.

        Your first paragraph is on point. Even when they know a proposed law is unconstitutional, even good-intended public servants have to watch their backsides. Imagine being a committee member linked to the headline you proposed. Political hemlock.

        The problem with giving the keys to this diabolical kingdom to a DA’s office (the leader of which, of course, is an elected official) is that the individual interpretation of the level of proof lies in the hands of those who seek to prosecute. That’s what they do, and sadly (Orange County) that’s all they know.

        With respect, there cannot be laws that “restrict” those who have already paid their price, some decades ago. Do your crime,do your time. Leave us be. You are correct that there are those who will never learn or reform. They probably should be subject to the harshest treatment by the courts. Most of us know what the registry started out like,and what it has become. History usually repeats itself.

  2. David

    CA, I’m reading into it, but it sounded to me like,”We’ll grant reconsideration of your Bill – if you go work with CASOMB to fix it.” (And good luck with that!!)

  3. Blizzzunk

    Thanks for the update!

    We appreciate you so much!!!

    Have a wonderful day.

  4. Q

    The Runners made many false statements (lies/deception) to the public to get these laws passed. It is seemingly what they do best, and now they are at it again; at least Sharon Runner is in this instance. They have already created years of headaches/litigation and now she has the gall to claim that SB54 will “break a stalemate created by the CA Supreme Court, and prevent 5 to 10 years of litigation.”

    I think by now that allot of us must be wondering how stupid do people have to be to believe these two after all the evidence proves that their claims against and about registrants are untrue, and they are wasting everyone’s time and $$$$ for their own personal gain. Their laws are not needed because they do not address any kind of need. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the Runners are getting kick backs from the CCPOA. But who would investigate that?

    • j

      Maybe it is time someone look into the possibility of kickbacks. Although it is very likely that hate alone fuels this nearly psychotic frenzy, it would certainly be interesting to see if emotions alone get it done. I hope they’re not using church collections to pay for the dehumanizing of registrants.

  5. MM

    We need to call and write letters!! I found this letter written by George Runner on June 25th on BOE letterhead to Senator Loni Hancock in support of SB 54. Ugh.

    http://www.boe.ca.gov/runner/pdf/SB54SUP.pdf

    • j

      This is quite appalling to see the misuse of BOE letterhead and ostensibly BOE support for unconstitutional pursuits. What oversight is conducted on the BOE and by whom?

    • PR

      You are so right. We all need to be pro active, write letters, make phone calls stand united, stand strong and once again let our voices be heard. Senator Loni Hancock I do not believe will be swayed by George. She is on the California Sexual Management Board and I would think she would be one more than ever wanting to follow their recommendations.

      • Harry

        For this,tactless Runner using BOE letterhead for his personal cry, might be the stench from his dunghill mind that will cause Senator Loni Hancock to flush him and Ms Runner, away.

    • Nicholas Maietta

      I do believe misappropriation of official government resources for personal gain is a criminal offense anywhere in the United States.

  6. David

    Very strange: There was one point in Sen. Runner’s testimony that she noted that living in urban areas such as San Francisco is very expensive for anyone, even someone with two jobs. (See approx. 01:04:50 in the video.) She notes that housing costs are lower in her District (Antelope Valley) and compliant housing would be easier to find in such less congested, rural areas.
    So let me get this right – for the benefit of all your constituents, Senator Runner: you are recommending that Registered Sex Offenders should move to Antelope Valley in order to find affordable, compliant housing???? My God, your constituents are going to LOVE you!!!

    • NPS

      I noticed that, too. She really contradicted her point because on one hand, she’s complaining about the amount of registrants in her district, but on the other, she’s stating that her district would accommodate her precious 2000 ft rule. That woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about, nor does she know what she wants. She doesn’t know anything about the Bay Area. There are plenty of affordable places to live in San Francisco (albeit in illegal in-laws in the Sunset District) or any other place along the Peninsula. Regardless, they don’t even enforce Jessica’s law because it’s so densely compact.

      • PR

        I totally agree with you. She does not know what she is talking about. Maybe next time she should send George………..

    • j

      Let’s all show up at her church and find out what good treatment we’re going to get as a reward from moving from a congested area to such a warm, wide open and welcoming place.

      • Cool CA RC

        She goes to church?

        That is interesting..I think I can find couple bible verse that might help her.

        “Matthew 6:15 Forgive or God won’t forgive.”

        • Harry

          I find that a large number of these sex offender haters go to church and I have notice,most belongs to a curtain Bible belt domination. I think it would good test ,that a bunch of RC would show up to the Runner’s church to expose their sins.

      • David

        LOL. And when we show up at her church, we can tell folks that we are thinkimg of moving up there because Sen. Runner said there was affordable compliant housing available! They’re gonna love their Senator Runner then!!!!

    • PR

      I caught that one too. And then her little smile! If an registrant is on parole/probation which is the greatest majority they can not move out of the county they were released into. Once they are released they for the most part have no means of support. And now according to Sharon and George they are suppose to go find a public defender and get an exemption for compliant housing. While Senator Glazer questions when the neighbors would be notified or if they have any say about said registrant living next door. I seriously question what is wrong with these people.

    • Timmr

      Yes, not so much affordable housing, but less density, so less schools, parks, etc and more distance between. Maybe she wants registrants to come live in her district (he says with great confusion) Like I mentioned before, is this a joke?

  7. PR

    I just watched the video. Sharon does indeed misrepresent information. The guy she had with her avoided answering a question. Their entire premise is beyond stupid. A few of the Public Safety Committee members are clueless on this issue and they had not done any research on the facts or if they did chose not to believe them. Stone for example. I think was just referring to the information submitted by Runner. Sharon had Senator Stone, who ended up to be the moderator clearly on her side on this issue. Which is why I believe the discussion got as far as it did. As for Steve Glazer my representative he was extremely unimpressive. How Convenient Leno was not there? Should be interesting to see what Sharon and George come up with next. As we go into what round 3 or it is 4?

  8. Janice Bellucci

    Below is letter sent today to all members of the Senate Public Safety Committee. Please feel free to use it as a model. Letters need to be mailed soon for hearing on July 14.

    July 1, 2015

    Senator Jeff Stone, Member
    Senate Public Safety Committee
    State Capitol Building, Room 4062
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Dear Senator Stone:

    I am writing in strong opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 54 which failed to pass the Senate Public Safety Committee during a hearing on June 30, but was granted a rehearing which may be held on July 14.

    During the June 30 hearing, the author of the bill and/or her staff made false or misleading statements regarding SB 54. For example, they stated that SB 54 would only require residency restrictions to be levied against “the worst of the worst” sex offenders. The fact is that SB 54 would require more than 90 percent of those currently required to register as sex offenders to comply with residency restrictions.

    In addition, they made statements that SB 54 would make it easier for a sex offender to obtain judicial relief from residency restrictions. The fact is that SB 54 would significantly reduce a judge’s discretion and make it virtually impossible for an individual to obtain judicial relief because he would be required to prove there is a “pervasive lack of complaint housing” in the county in which he resides. That requirement alone would cost the individual thousands of dollars to hire both a lawyer as well as a subject matter expert.

    Further, they made statements during the hearing that SB 54 would resolve a “stalemate” caused by the recent CA Supreme Court decision, In re Taylor, and prevent 5 to 10 years of litigation. The fact is that if SB 54 becomes law, it will spawn lawsuits throughout the state of California challenging both its residency restrictions and limitations on judicial relief.

    Finally, residency restrictions such as those included in SB 54 do not achieve the worthy goal of protecting children from sexual assaults. The fact is that the California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB), the states’ experts on sex offender policy opposes residency restrictions because they create homelessness and transience among registered sex offenders and are the single most problematic aspect of sex offender management policy in California. In addition, CASOMB Vice-Chair Tom Tobin testified during the June 30 hearing that CASOMB is opposed to SB 54.

    Thank you for your attention to this important matter. For the reasons stated above I request that you and all members of the Senate Public Safety Committee vote “no” on SB 54.

    Sincerely,

    Janice M. Bellucci
    President

    • MM

      Starting on the letters now!! Just got finished watching the hearing from yesterday. Thankful sooo many folks showed up & spoke up!! I think Runner needs to step aside.

  9. MM

    While going through the Senate Public Safety Committee website ~ I noticed on their Agenda for July 14th that there is SB 448 (although I think they have it down as 444) – authored by Hueso, Sex Offender, Internet Identifiers. Many references to Prop 35 (just like), but instead of giving 24 hours to provide internet address, it now is 5 days … ???? Also classified as “URGENCY” … could that pass immediately???

    • Janice Bellucci

      You are correct. Senate Bill 448 is scheduled for July 14 and therefore we may oppose two bills in the Public Safety Committee hearing on that date. We are working closely with ACLU on SB 448 because the bill, if passed, would reverse the progress made on the lawsuit filed by ACLU that prevents law enforcement from asking for internet identifiers.

      • MM

        My gosh!!!! It NEVER ends!!!!!

      • Harry

        I think this is part of the Runner’s clubhouse. They may get sick with all this obsession.

      • JohnDoeUtah

        Looks like they are trying to follow Utah’s law, since it passed “constitutional” muster in the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

        I don’t wish this to drag out for you all in California, but if this does pass; and, you all fight the changes and win – it will create a U.S. Circuit Court split on the issue. Maybe then SCOTUS will get the case.

      • Timmr

        Janice, can you (or anyone) post a summary of the objections to this SB 448? Sounds like they are doing a Blitzkrieg here, and I would like to send them a comment on this one,too. I will look up the text myself, also.

      • curiouser

        Anything we can do to help out on SB 448 when we make our phone calls? Tell the aid I’m opposing passage of both, 448 and 54, for example?

    • curiouser

      It looks like another gut-and-amend SB. The version in April looks nothing like the one presented on June 17.

    • David

      On quick review: Another stupid Bill that makes no practical sense at all. It just harasses and infringes on our rights. Seriously, would a bad person who was truly intent on doing evil really provide accurate information to law enforcement?? Of course not! (Is the sponsor presenting a Bill requiring convicted bank robbers to stop by the police department prior to robbing a bank and give law enforcement a description of the getaway car they’ll be driving???)

    • Clark

      The sb448 further objective remains though and that is they want to undermine the Constitution …..federal judge already told told them on the same issue.

      • Clark

        Still makes freedom of speech a crime… .. makes search of your communications when equally free citizens are protected from such search and Constitutionally protected equal rights like all free men…….they want lifetime parole conditions on free men……free men……..finally legislator proving registry self incriminating to be used against you and as further condition punishment for alleged crime….search was done with/limited at parole……probozo here makes search lifetime parole….thank you legislator for proving registry is punitive.

  10. noname

    What is the address for the new Senator Steven Glazer

    • Janice Bellucci

      Senator Steven Glazer’s address is State Capitol Room 4090, Sacramento, CA 95814

  11. Mark V

    Will do my part and write them letters. Thanks for making it easier!

    • PR

      My letters will be going out also.

    • Harry

      Again, my letters are ready and I will take them to the post office. tomorrow. I will make my calls next week. I watch the video, Ms Runner is saying stuff that is not in the bill. She is real con artist. She should sued for harassment of sex offenders under PC290.4.

  12. Cool CA RC

    How many people from Crime Victims United show up?

    • Janice Bellucci

      Only one representative from Crime Victims United showed up to testify.

      • CA

        Janice, please say that we can get temporary restraining order against SB 448, this is crazy.
        I thought the appellate court, turned this down and the attorney general did not appeal. If SB 54 and SB448 do they still have to go to the state senate for their votes?

      • Cool CA RC

        Senators Anderson and Stone who vote for SB 54. They can’t see the 15:1 ?
        I thought majority wins.. not this one.

        On top of that they are getting another chance to retry PLUS try to sneak in Sex offenders: Internet identifiers. (SB-448 )
        http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB448

        Didn’t the Federal Court shoot this one down?

  13. A

    Hi folks… don’t know if you want to bother allowing this one to post through. Just wanted to point out a typo in the “… Complaint Housing” section. (middle of the 3rd paragraph.

    Thank you all so much for everything you are accomplishing!! so much respect. I’ve only 11 and a half months to go before discharge. I will be able to help much more then.

  14. CA

    What I don’t understand is, why when the federal and state courts decide on a issue. These people in the ca assembly can overturn it. This is entirely unconstitutional!!!! The Federal courts already said that it is a VIOLATION of our constitutional rights, TO GIVE OUR E-MAIL ADDRESSES, to law enforcement, they clearly stated that it violated our 1ST AMENDMENT RIGHT…. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!!!!!!

  15. Two States east

    On 448, will the EFF rejoin this too ?

  16. B

    There was one real chance that these residency/presence bills had this year: if the League of California Cities got into it as a “local control” issue then they had a shot at getting the many former locally elected officials who are now in the legislature. But since the bill only had the support of CCPOA (and their spawn), there was really no firepower to get it through either Public Safety Committee.

    Next year is a completely different matter. Next year is an election year and all the legislators turn into politicians looking for something catchy to include in their re-election brochures. Practically every law that adds restrictions to RSOs happens in even numbered years. Odd numbered years are for producing good public policy. Even numbered years are for getting re-elected. It’s sad.

  17. mike r

    Man here we go again the gov, compelling US to provide personal and private info to them within certain time frames or face criminal prosecution. This seems so unamerican.

  18. Eric Knight

    There were exactly zero… count them, ZERO!… supporters for Runner’s bill whom had anything to do with safety of children, of the community; no law enforcement officials who would have emphasized the safety factor for their officers, no sociologists who presenented any credible studies that the community would be better protected with this ordinance. Nothing. Sharon Runner couldn’t even get out any of her friends to testify. No GOP minions, no neighbors…nobody. Just a group representing the union of jail workers, because they are invested in as much incarceration as possible for their paychecks, which last I heard, was not a valid reason given in any of the bill text at ANY stage.

    Yet, we gotta keep on pushing…

    • Janice Bellucci

      July 14 is the final day for the Public Safety Committee to hear a bill. July 14 is the Finish Line and when we cross it we will be finished for the year. We can cross it with a big victory IF everyone who reads this website sends letters, makes phone calls and/or testifies before the committee. The largest number we have had so far to testify in our favor is 15. I believe that we can grow that number, perhaps even double it. Show up on July 14, bring family and friends. Let your voices be heard!

  19. David

    My anti-SB54 and anti-SB448 letters have been mailed. ‘Have phoned the P.S.C. Senators as well as Hueso and Runner. Good luck to us all!!!

  20. PR

    I did not see SB 54 on the agenda July 14th, 2015 Public Safety Committee? Only bill SB 448 is listed.

    • MM

      @PR … I noticed that too. Hhhmmmm ????? I wonder why? What happened? I’ve tried to see if I could find something on line, but haven’t been lucky.

      • Harry

        Ms. Runner had some homework to do, before she was to come back to the committee. It is possible she did not do it or the dog ate it.

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