As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day, it is important to remember that an essential pillar of his civil rights platform was Justice. ACSOL which is a civil rights organization has, in fact, adopted and advanced one of Dr. King’s best-known sayings about justice: “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere” in our lobbying efforts in the state capitol.
We credit the wisdom of Dr. King, as expressed in the saying above, as we recognize and celebrate that our efforts of 6 ½ years, as well as the efforts of others, resulted in the legislature’s passage of the state’s first Tiered Registry in 2017. We also credit the wisdom of Dr. King, as expressed in the saying above, as we prepare to lobby state legislators on February 5 for necessary changes to the Tiered Registry Law before it takes effect in 2021.
This is a steep legislative mountain to climb. For we are asking the legislature to change a law that has not yet been implemented, an argument that is certain to be used against us.
And yet how can we stay silent when there are major problems embedded in the Tiered Registry Law? For example, how can we ignore the fact that those convicted of a non-contact, non-violent offense such as possession of under-age pornography will continue to be required to register for life? How can we ignore the fact that the Tiered Registry Law fails to provide judges with discretion to allow a registrant to leave the registry if he has not re-offended for 30 years?
ACSOL’s attempt to modify the Tiered Registry Law has already been threatened. A professional lobbyist who supported an earlier version of that law recently told an ACSOL representative that if the organization attempts to modify the law, “We Will Crush You.” The threat seemed so real that the representative feared for her physical safety while in the lobbyist’s office.
The full meaning of the threat, “We Will Crush You,” is yet to be made apparent. We can expect, however, at least some resistance during this year’s Lobby Day.
As we prepare for that day, we can turn to another well-known saying from Dr. King: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ACSOL will act in faith on February 5 by taking the first step toward the staircase of improving the Tiered Registry Law.
Please join us so that we can work together to improve the Tiered Registry Law as well as the lives of all registrants and their loved ones.