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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: A Blizzard in the Nation’s Capitol Provides a Window of Opportunity

It took a miracle, a miracle in the form of a blizzard in Washington, D.C., to slow down Congress’ consideration of HR 515, the International Megan’s Law bill. Prior to the blizzard, the bill was on a fast track to a speedy vote under a “suspension of the rules” which would have ruled out any discussion or debate of this historic and misguided legislation.

We haven’t won yet. The bill has not been stopped. But it has given us a window of opportunity to educate our Congressional representatives about the dangers the bill poses.

While a new date for the bill’s consideration has not yet been established, we know we have at least one week to send letters and E-mails as well as to make phone calls. We are constituents and our elected officials need to hear from us, our family members and friends — early and often.

They need to know that the bill would require the addition of “unique identifiers” to the passports of U.S. citizens. They need to know that this has never been done in the history of our country. They need to know that no other country is currently doing this to their citizens and that the only countries that have done this in the past are Nazi Germany and Russia.

They also need to know that the bill would require federal agencies to notify countries of anyone who has ever been convicted of a sex offense involving a minor even if that person is no longer required to register as a sex offender. This wide net would extend to hundreds of Californians who have been deemed “rehabilitated” by a state judge as well as to thousands of Americans in other states who “termed out” of their requirement to register.

Finally, they need to know that we agree that sex trafficking of children is a terrible crime and should be stopped. The way to stop it, however, is not to punish hundreds of thousands of American who have not been convicted of sex trafficking and are extremely unlikely to do so in the future.

The clock is ticking. We may have only one week to be heard. Send an E-mail, write a letter, and/or call your Congressional representative today!

Read all of Janice’s Journal

Join the discussion

  1. Q

    WTF is this? “suspension of the rules.” Who is paying for this?!?! It’s starting to look to me like someone or some group with allot of money really, really want’s this bill to pass. How can they just throw the rules out of the window on something as huge as this?!?! I don’t think sex trafficking is a terrible crime; I think it’s beyond terrible that this nonexistent manufactured crime is being used to further remove the basic human right to travel unmolested by governments. This “crime” is about as real as the super bowl sex trafficking lie. Does everyone know that a few years back congress voted to remove all restrictions on the amount of money lobbyists can give to further their cause when lobbying congress?

    Feels like someone is calling in favors, and they are destroying our country as we know it, and congress has been allowing it to happen in order to swell their bank accounts.

    These businesses and special interest (like private prison corporations) groups bankroll campaigns for these politiciansto get elected; and then they own them. They become puppets.

    “The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy.”

    “President Obama called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    I may be wrong. I may be off base; but something stinks!

    • commenter1

      Here’s a Wikipedia article on Suspension of rules in the US Congress:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_the_rules_in_the_United_States_Congress

      It says:
      A motion to suspend the rules is in order on Mondays and Tuesdays and towards the end of a session of Congress and may only be made by the Speaker of the House or their designee, though it is customary for committee chairs to write the Speaker requesting a suspension. Once a member makes a motion to “suspend the rules” and take some action, debate is limited to 40 minutes, no amendments can be offered to the motion or the underlying matter, and a 2/3 majority of Members present and voting is required to agree to the motion.

      So…only the Speaker of the House or his designee can make such a motion and supposedly a committee chair has written to the Speaker of the House requesting this. The Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan. It seems to me that if we want this bill to go to a debate then he is the person we need to convince.

      Here is his contact information people:
      http://www.speaker.gov/contact
      I am personally contacting him through that to ask him to reverse his decision to suspend the rules on this bill.

      • Janice Bellucci

        Thank you for this information re: suspension of the rules. The most important part of the suspension is that passage of a bill requires only 2/3 majority of Members PRESENT AND VOTING. That means the bill can be passed when only a handful of members (less than 10) are actually on the Senate floor. The bill can be stopped from consideration under a suspension of the rules if we make enough “noise” in the offices of those who represent us as well as in the Speaker’s office. Below is the letter I wrote to the Speaker on January 5. Two representatives from national RSOL met in the Office of the Speaker a few days later and hand delivered that letter.

        January 5, 2016

        Speaker Paul Ryan
        United States House of Representatives
        The Capitol, Room 232
        Washington, D.C. 20515

        Re: HR 515 – International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders

        Dear Speaker Ryan:

        The purpose of this letter is to request that you refer the bill referenced above, HR 515, to the appropriate committees in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to its consideration on the floor. Such referrals would provide an opportunity for the House of Representatives to discuss and debate the historic amendment made on the Senate floor on December 17, 2015.

        The Senate amendment at issue would authorize the Secretary of State to add “unique identifiers” to the passports of American citizen for the first time in the nation’s history. That is, in the history of the United States, no American citizen has ever been required to endure such international stigma. Such a decision would be an historic mistake that should be avoided by this country at this time or for this reason.

        If the United States does make the choice of adding identifiers to the passports of its citizens, the nation will join the ranks of only two countries that have made similar decisions in the past — Nazi Germany and Russia. Such an important decision by the U.S. House of Representatives requires careful consideration and should be discussed and debated before a vote is taken on the floor of the House.

        Thank you for your attention to this important matter. For the reasons stated above, we strongly urge that you refer HR 515, as amended, to the appropriate committees prior to consideration of that bill on the floor of the House of Representatives.

        • Q

          Great letter Janice. I suppose I’ll send an email voicing my opposition as soon as I unwind. It’s been a long day!

      • Q

        This shoulder be allowed. These parasites of our society need to find a better way to do things.

      • Q

        Don’t know if it’s too late; but I typed and sent this anyway. I used the link in your post. I’m so not good at this sort of thing!!!!! Here’s what I sent 🙂

        January 26, 2016
        Speaker Paul Ryan
        United States House of Representatives
        The Capitol, Room 232
        Washington, D.C. 20515
        Re: HR 515 – International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders
        Dear Speaker Ryan:
        This is in regards to bill HR 515. This bill needs to be debated and discussed. I feel that the “fast track”
        is the wrong way to deal with this bill. Adding a “unique identifier” on the passports of any American citizen will put this nation on a level with Nazi Germany when that government did this on the passports and identity cards of a select group of it’s citizens. I ask you to please do what you can to prevent this nation from stepping down to the level of Nazi Germany. I know of another instance where “unique identifiers were used; this was in Rwanda in the 1990s, and we all know that nothing good came of this!

        Group classification on ID cards or other official personal documents (passports, residence permits, etc.) force a person to be affiliated with a governmentally-defined group and expose persons to profiling and human rights abuses based upon their group identity. This is just plain wrong.

        Thank you for your time. I hope this is not too late. I urge you to refer HR 515 to the appropriate committee before it goes to the floor of the House of representatives.

    • Robert Curtis

      Congressman Ed Royce (Orange County) was the one requesting the suspension of rules to pass this law. He is up for re-election and has a strong Democrat running against him in Orange County. I will be putting in effort to remove him but it would be nice to get some help from any registrants or family members. I’ll train you for free and together we will make a difference. Robert (949) 872-8768.

  2. Jason

    Well for who all secretly tried tofast-track this and get this in place before we had a discussion about it, BUSTED!!!!!! NICE TRY!!!!

    • PK

      I’m thinking that at least 95% of SO’s don’t know about this legislation.

      It probably would have been better if all SO’s knew about this and we had an even more intense discussion.

      • Timmr

        If the 5% who know of this out of all American registrants (850,000) would send an email, call or write, they in Congress would get at least 42,500 emails, calls or letters against this bill. I just stopped thinking about it and sent an email to Ryan.

      • Paul

        95% of registrants don’t know about this site

      • Timmr

        I don’t know if 95% of registrants know nothing of this site. I had no trouble finding this site a few years ago. I just figured there must be someone else out there who also finds these laws ridiculous and harmful and presto, I found this. Getting up enough courage to say something was the problem. I believed it would draw attention to myself and make my life worse. Guessing a lot of other people feel the same way. Don’t know. Hiding under a rock does feel like it give you some control, but actually if no one speaks up, things will only get worse, and the more who speak up, the easier it will get for everyone. Many have accepted that they are flawed, and therefore have nothing useful to say, and it is a hard idea to overcome.

  3. ma.concerned.citizen

    More emails sent today!

  4. John

    Mail, call, and email!

    Send your comments to your House Representative and to Speaker Paul Ryan. You can submit your comments to Speaker Paul Ryan in line with what Janice wrote above at http://www.speaker.gov/contact. You can find your House Rep contact info here http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

    Please send Speaker Ryan a message that you would like HR515 referred to the appropriate House or Representatives committees for its consideration on the floor.

    Tell your House Representative that you oppose this bill.

    Time to band together and let our voices be heard!

    • Janice Bellucci

      Thank you, John, for your enthusiasm! It is sure to inspire others to send E-mails and make phone calls. Today I visited the office of my local Congressman where I received a positive reception. Like all of us, the staffer was “horrified” to learn about the Senate amendment requiring the Secretary of State to add a “unique identifier” to passports of U.S. citizens. She understood that this is a slippery slope. Today “unique identifiers” could be added to the passports of registrants, tomorrow it could be Muslim, Jews, or gays. There is no date yet for consideration of HR 515. That means we have time….time to send E-mails and make phone calls. Please do it today!

  5. Eric Knight

    If this bill unfortunately passes, there is a lawyer, Galen Baughman, who is looking for plaintiff candidates. Site: http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/2016/01/action-alert-challenging-international.html

    From the site:

    We expect H.R. 515 to pass on a suspension vote in the House this Monday (2-1-16) and be sent to President Obama’s desk.

    We’re looking for ideal plaintiffs and we need your help to find people who meet one of these criteria:

    1- Does not have a passport, but wants one
    2- Has a passport about to expire
    3- Travels internationally a number of times per year (especially for work)
    4- Has been harassed while traveling in or out of the US based on registration status

    If you think you fit any of these four categories, please write to me with the following information:

    1-Name
    2-Age
    3-Age at time of offense
    4-Offense(s)
    5-Which of the four (4) categories you fit into
    6-Would you be willing to be a name plaintiff to challenge this law?
    7-State you live in

    More details at the link above.

    • Janice Bellucci

      Please know that Galen is not an attorney but he is helping two attorneys, one in Washington, D.C., and me identify potential plaintiffs for the lawsuits that we will file if HR 515 is passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. We appreciate the work Galen is doing and hope everyone who reads this will provide him with the information he has requested.

    • Timmr

      My wife would like to visit Spain. And I would like to go with her. I just remembered I had a passport in 1996 or there abouts. Would I be in category one?

  6. Carl Collette

    Why hasn’t the media picked up this issue – for or against.

    • Timmr

      Good question. Maybe because this story doesn’t have the tags: black lives matter, guns, LGBT, Obamacare, terrorists, celebrities. We are invisible. Just ask members of other marginalized groups like black lives matter or LGBTQ’s — you have to do a lot of continuous shouting to be heard and break through the echo chambers news outlets create around themselves. I don’t know if I can do that, but it is the only thing to do: to shout or support someone else doing the shouting.

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