During a hearing today, the Senate Public Safety Committee stopped two bills, SB 976 and SB 1143, that would have harmed registrants as well as their families. The first of those bills (SB 976) would have expanded the definition of “violent felony” to include all felony sex offenses. That change could have resulted in longer prison sentences as well as no consideration for early parole. The second of those bills (SB 1143) would have required registrants convicted of an offense involving a minor to disclose their status as a registrant to potential landlords as well as to home sellers.
“These are significant victories for registrants and their families,” stated ASCOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “The residency restrictions included in SB 1143 would have destroyed families and forced many registrants to become homeless.”
During the Committee’s consideration of SB 1143, a total of 21 people spoke in opposition to the bill including ACLU lobbyist Natasha Minsker and Executive Director Bellucci. The ACLU’s testimony focused upon a decision by the California Supreme Court, In re Taylor, which determined that residency restrictions, as applied by CDCR, violated the U.S. Constitution. ACSOL’s testimony focused upon reports and recommendations from the California Sex Offender Management Board, the U.S. Department of Justice and Dr. Jill Levinson which determined that residency restrictions decrease, rather than increase, public safety.
“We thank the registrants and family members who showed up, stood and spoke up during today’s hearing,” stated Bellucci. “They helped the members of the Senate Public Safety Committee reach the right decision by stopping two potentially harmful bills.”
Registrants and family members are invited to attend the next legislative hearing on May 9 during which Assembly Bill 2839 will be considered. If passed, that bill would prohibit hundreds of patients at Coalinga State Hospital from voting in federal, state and city elections. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in Room 444 of the State Capitol.