The Public Safety Committee today passed an amended version of Assembly Bill (AB) 2569. The bill, authored by committee vice chair Melissa Melendez, originally removed an exemption for some registrants convicted of incest from being added to the Megan’s Law website. The amended version of the bill requires the California Department of Justice to interview the victim of the offense and to make a subsequent determination regarding whether information regarding the registrant should be added to that website.
California RSOL opposed the original bill as well as the amended bill in a letter to the Committee as well as in testimony at the Committee hearing.
“Assembly Bill 2569 is predatory legislation that will destabilize families and re-victimize victims,” testified CA RSOL president Janice Bellucci. “The amendment will provide the California Department of Justice with unfettered discretion because the bill does not provide the agency with guidelines by which to make its decisions.”
CA RSOL board member Pamela George also testified at the hearing and spoke in opposition to the bill.
“It’s important that the committee apply empirical evidence and not take action based upon on emotion,” stated George.
The Committee approved the bill by a vote of 6 to 1, with the dissenting vote from Assembly member Bill Quirk who said he voted against the bill because of George’s testimony.
During his remarks, Quirk stated that the registry is “too long already”. He added that he believes that the registry should be limited to those likely to re-offend or who have committed the most serious offenses.
Assembly Bill 2569 will next be considered by the Appropriations Committee. If the bill passes that committee, it will next be considered on the Assembly floor and then move to the Senate Public Safety Committee for further consideration.
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From an attendee (from comments below):
I showed up at the Legislative hearing on Tuesday prepared to help oppose AB 2569. Even though all I would be able to do is state my name, city, and that I wished them to vote “nay”, I felt as though by doing that I would help the 28,000 people who would be affected by this bill. While I am not one of those affected by AB 2569, I feel as though an act against one of us is an act against all of us. We have to stand united, it is only through acting as one that any civil rights movement has gained strength.
But they published a schedule that for the day that was overly aggressive, did not let anyone know they would continue the unheard bills the next day, and did not even mention to the crowded meeting the order of the bills. Five hours of sitting listening to the wheels of the legislature grind, only to not be heard. Having been there before, I was aware that much of the process is decided behind closed doors before the committee meeting, but I was hoping for an impact or cause them to reconsider. I took the day off without pay, took an early morning flight, and rented a car to get from the airport to the capitol. I am not wealthy, I work hard for what little I make, and the legislature in their capricious disregard for the voters, demonstrated how inadequate they are. Throughout the day, those of us in attendance and those watching it by streaming video know the Committee stood up for a variety of causes, protecting us from mylar balloons against the huge outcry of retailers, and preventing a DUI blood THC threshold against the opinion of a highly regarded researcher in the field. They did what seemed right, but failed to do what was right for us because of fear of losing their jobs and out of hate.
Janice cannot do this alone, we must all help. It is through our letters and calls, the legislature responds. If you weren’t there, you would not know that Janice was fighting not only this battle, but also was on Day 2 of treatment for pneumonia. She soldiered through that meeting. Not sure how, as I am healthy and it was a long frustrating day in that meeting room for me. If she can do that to help us, what can we do to help ourselves and help her in this battle? As we move on to the next battle, I hope that everyone that reads this website asks themselves those questions and finds a way, through donations, through standing up at the next Committee meeting, or through an aggressive letter and calling campaign, or whatever you can do to help fight the battle so that we can win the war.