The CA state legislature began a new two-year session just last month. And in that short period of time, legislators are already heading down the wrong path.
What path? The path which identifies all individuals convicted of a sex offense as dangerous and likely to commit a new sex offense.
For example, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty who is known for his compassion for those who are or have been incarcerated, introduced a bill (AB 277) that would allow parolees to earn “reintegration credits” that could ultimately allow them to travel greater distances from their homes. Under this bill, a successful parolee could travel as far away as 125 miles instead of the current 50 miles.
The problem with AB 277 is that it arbitrarily excludes anyone “who is required to register pursuant to Section 290.” This exclusion ignores the fact that a person may be required to register due to a conviction that occurred many decades ago or involved a non-contact, non-violent offense such as public indecency.
As another example, Assembly member Melissa Melendez introduced a bill (AB 884) that would disturb the balance struck during the recent passage of the Tiered Registry Bill. Specifically, the bill would assign anyone convicted of violating PC 288(a) to the highest tier which requires lifetime registration.
If this bill becomes law, the hopes and dreams of at least 40 percent of the individuals required to register in California would be dashed. That is, instead of being eligible to petition for removal from the registry after “only” 20 years, these individuals would be required to register for their entire lives.
These bills must be stopped in order to prevent further punishment of individuals who are currently required to register! Opportunities to stop them are coming soon in the form of a hearing to be held by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on March 12 in Room 126 of the State Capitol.
Please Show Up – Stand Up – Speak up on March 12 at the hearing which is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. You can even join ACSOL at the nearby Starbucks restaurant (12th and L) at 8:30 a.m.
For if the legislators refuse to learn the “easy” way, we will need to teach them the “hard” way by speaking in opposition to the legislation that they offer during committee hearings at which the legislation will be considered. And when you join ACSOL at a committee hearing, you will feel the power because you will be empowered. For it is inevitable that we shall overcome. That reason will be the ultimate victor.