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California

Assembly’s Public Safety Committee Approves Bill Excluding Registrants

The CA Assembly’s Public Safety Committee today approved Assembly Bill 277 (AB 277) that would provide benefits to all parolees except for those convicted of a sex offense. The committee members voted 6 to 1 in favor of the bill after ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci and nine ACSOL members stated their opposition.

“Our main objection to the bill is that it would exclude anyone who has ever been convicted of a sex offense, regardless of whether the offense involved violence or occurred decades ago,” stated Bellucci. “There is no rational basis for this exclusion and if the bill becomes law, it could be successfully challenged in court because it violates the Equal Protection clauses of both the state and federal constitutions.”

During a discussion of AB 277, two members of the Public Safety Committee (Chairman Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Member Bill Quirk) apologized in advance for voting in favor of the bill stating that it would not be politically feasible at this time to remove the exclusion from the bill. Also during discussion of AB 277, both supporters and opponents of the bill emphasized that reintegration credits could increase public safety by allowing parolees greater freedom to reunify their families, attend college and find better jobs.

In addition to ACSOL, the only organization that also opposed AB 277 was the District Attorneys Association based upon its belief that parolees do not need or deserve reintegration credits. The only committee member to vote against the bill was Assemblyman Tom Lackey.

Because the Public Safety Committee approved AB 277 today, the bill will next be considered by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on a date yet to be determined. If the Appropriations Committee approves the bill, it would next be considered by the full Assembly. And if the full Assembly approves AB 277, it will be sent to the Senate where it will be considered first by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

“Although we didn’t stop AB 277 today, there are many more opportunities to stop that bill before it becomes law,” stated Bellucci. “ACSOL will provide its members with information regarding those opportunities when dates, times and locations are available.”

 

Join the discussion

  1. Roger

    It was a privilege to work with Janice and the rest of the 10 people who were willing to sacrifice their time and money to fight for the other 110,000 who did not.

    It was especially impressed by the two newcomers who were willing to overcome their fears of showing up, standing up, and speaking up to fight for what is right.

    I ask the reader to reflect on what you are willing to sacrifice for change. Comments on websites are low sacrifice and effect little change. Writing letters and making calls and donating money are greater sacrifice and cause some change.

    But for major change, we 110,000 must show up, stand up, and speak up! The cost is much greater in time and money. It was required for all great civil rights success for all people groups.

    Are you angry enough that change is not happening fast enough that you are willing to be very inconvenienced to show up in Sacramento?

    Are you fearful enough of the constant flow of bad bills that you are willing to find more reasons to show up than to reasons you can’t?

    If your answer is not a strong YES! then what do you think our chance for real change will be?

    I’m not saying this to beat up on you. I’m just stating a reality.

    If you had cancer, you would be willing to sacrifice and be very inconvenienced to take treatment to save your life.

    Are you willing to sacrifice as much for your civil rights?

    One more note: I personally will not benefit from our efforts regarding the opposing AB 277 and AB 884, or supporting SB 145. I am sacrificing for you, hoping you will be willing to fight for bills that help me.

    Are you willing to sacrifice for registrants with different issues so they will fight for your issues?

    I hope your answer is YES.

  2. Chris

    Question for Janice:

    What are the chances for challenging this based on equal protection? I know the CoR was challenged, but succeeded because the CoR discriminated against *some* (but not all) crimes that came with 290 registration. However, this discriminates against *all* 290s equally. Is it harder to challenge because of this?

    I am a 290 registrant on 10 year parole. I am thinking of starting to take college classes. In any case these classes might come in handy during a Habeus Corpus challenge. What do you think?

    • Janice Bellucci

      @Chris – If this bill becomes a law, it could be challenged based upon Equal Protection because it provides parolees who have not been convicted of a sex offense with a benefit that would not be available to parolees who have been convicted of a sex offense and there is no rational basis for that distinction. The fact is that public safety would be increased if all parolees had these benefits. Stated differently, public safety would not be maximized if parolees convicted of a sex offense were denied these benefits.

  3. Facts should matter

    “it would not be politically feasible.”

    And there you have it! Circling the wagon around the status quo primarily from fear of backlash and death threats. Civil servants making the “hard choices..” *Vomits*

  4. JACK

    Just get in their face and demand they eliminate the registry all together. They know it’s illegal anyway. Might as well beat the courts to the punch.

    • Roger

      Jack, I assume you were just being facetious. If not, consider this: think of a time in your job when someone said to you “why can’t you just ______ in order to get your work done?”

      Remember how it pissed you off because they were ignorant of how complex it was and didn’t want to take the time to understand?

      I can claim the ocean is filled with Diet Sprite until I go there and see for myself that it is not. I can claim I can lift 1000 pounds until I try. Until you get from behind your computer and join us in Sacramento, you will stay in a magical thinking world where we can “just demand they eliminate the registry”, rather than seeing how laws actually get passed in person.

      If you are serious about what you wrote, your ignorance of how legal and civil change works is typical of someone who has not been willing to sacrifice the time to get in the trenches with us and speak up at hearings.

      Here is the reality of what happened today: Every politician at that table was afraid of their constituents would not re-elect them if they were accused in an election of being “soft on those sex offenders”, and were afraid the same is true for other politicians who would be asked to vote for a bill that would help people who committed a sex crime.

      It has taken ACSOL years to help the dialog change enough to slow down the passage of anti-registrant bills. At least they were apologizing for saying this bill wouldn’t pass if it helped us, and that they could consider adding us to it someday. That is light years ahead of past years.

      I challenge you to join us the next time we go to Sacramento. Then you can be truly part of the fight for justice.

  5. e

    “We are truly sorry we voted for this, but if truth be told, we don’t give a fuck about you or your families. So go away and leave us so we can talk about you and beam with pride on how we fucked you over.”

    • Roger

      e, you are over-simplifying what happened because you were not there. Yes, a couple of those committee members really don’t like us, but that committee has also blocked many bills that would have made our lives even more hell.

      They wanted the parole credits bill to pass but didn’t think it would pass if we were included. That is the political reality at this moment.

      But re-read what Janice wrote: there is hope. We can still try to get the changes in later. And we can lobby for our inclusion in the future.

      We learn to work with politicians who may be on the other side of the table today, but could be allies next time.

      I challenge you to stand up from your computer and come with us next time. I’m fighting for you even though I will never benefit from it. Why don’t you show up, stand up, and speak up with us?

  6. Newcomer

    I was one of the newcomers who showed up, stood up, and spoke up. I have to say I was scared as hell. This is all new to me. I took a day off work, drove for two hours to Sacramento to stand up for 10 seconds and oppose AB 277 and then drive two hours back home. It felt great!

    Even though the bill was approved, I felt hope in that the members actually listened, discussed, and as Janice mentioned apologized for voting in favor. This is a big shift in the right direction. We need to keep the discussions happening.

    About me, I’ve been a registrant for over twenty years and after receiving the DHS passport revocation letter last year I discovered ACSOL, attended last year’s conference and then started donating as funds allow. I had no idea such a great organization existed! I now have hope that for the last twenty years I’ve never had.

    I too will not benefit from AB 277 or the upcoming AB 884 but decided that I need to support the effort for all. Hopefully others, who like me, have been watching from the website will move to take real action.

    Someday I hope there is a bill that may benefit me, in the mean time I offer my support for you. Show up, Stand up, Speak up.

    • Roger

      Newcomer, it was great seeing you today. I was proud to see you and the other new person willing to make the sacrifice in time and money to come and fight for justice.

      Whenever we show up, the politicians remember! They are FAR less likely today to make anti-registrant bills because we are fighting back. The number is WAAAYY down!

  7. Mp

    I am not in California, nor is my family on the registry…yet. And I say family because that is how it works. It is so important for those in power to see faces. So thank you so much to those who took the time to show up and speak up. It is appreciated even by those you will never meet and live thousand of miles away.

    Two would have possible voted against this if it were not for politics. Well, they are elected and are listening to their constituents who want this, even though they are learning better. So I look at it as we almost had a 3 to 4 vote. I hope more people will find a way to show up in person. Seeing faces, seeing and learning that it is families on the registry is a where I think it is at to start to get people to understand what we are doing as a society. Thank you to everyone and this site for your hard work.

  8. kat

    Have to agree with Roger-
    It’s easy for to sit behind a computer and voice our comments-
    Much harder to stand in front of people and voice our concerns.
    If you are able to get to meetings, conferences or group events, anywhere where your voice can be heard, in what ever part of the country you’re in, give it a try, it’s worth the effort..
    Once over the initial fear, there is a sense of pride in knowing that you’ve had a part, no matter if it’s just 15 seconds to voice your concerns, in standing up for yourself or someone you know that is affected by these issues.
    If we aren’t willing to stand up for ourselves why would or should we expect others to stand up for us?
    This is your right to a life that you need to fight for.

    • e

      I don’t have to step out into traffic to know that if I do I will get hit. I don’t have to take up my time to voice my concerns to know that time doesn’t matter.
      I show up, listen to people make decisions about my life, then have to live with those decisions. This is not my idea of a day well spent.
      I prefer to vent here, then work on my own to get as far away from here as possible.
      You that feel it’s worth it, more power to ya.

      • Mark Judkins

        e – sorry to see you feel that way. But I KNOW we make a difference. We got a tiered registry because we kept showing up. Sure, its not perfect, nothing ever is coming out of the Legislature. Now its time to get it fixed, and keep it from reverting. Its one baby step at a time. I know we make a difference because for the first time in my 4 years of showing up in Sacramento, I had a staffer ASK us to come and support their bill, and to write letters/make calls in support. They know we matter! If you just look at each baby step in the process, its easy to get discouraged. But look what we have done. We eliminated residency and presence restrictions. We have the beginnings of a tiered registry. We have Legislators asking for our assistance. Not sure what “truck” is going to hit you if you gave some time, but if you just stand at the curb watching, you will never make progress. Kind of like voting. I don’t always get the person I want in office, but if I vote, I can at least say I tried to make a difference and I would rather go down swinging than be standing there waiting for the “truck” to hit me.

        • e

          Read Janice’s latest posting on new bill? I rest my case.

  9. steve

    “it would not be politically feasible at this time to remove the (sex offender registry) exclusion from the bill. ” Can this comment be used later against the registry as a whole?

    Is he hinting at you to comeback when there are no elections going on and we’ll change it if it passes? I fear this might be the same attitude with the tiered bill 288 (a) change.

    • Facts should matter

      Of course it can. They just admitted that we’re political prisoners of a schema that’s used exclusively to pacify and appease worrywart soccer moms for votes! This is taxation without representation and a violation of equal protection clause. Not to mention Megan’s Law scapegoats an entire class for the actions of a few.

  10. Chris

    I have more hope because Roger and Janice and others are willing to show up in Sacramento.

    Imagine instead of 10 if it was 100. Imagine if there were so many of us we couldn’t even fit into the room.

    What else can I do now (I am on parole and cannot travel)? I’ve already donated to this website.

    • Janice Bellucci

      @Chris – Thank you for your encouraging comments. What you can do is make phone calls and send letters regarding another bill, AB 884, which is much worse than AB 277. There is another website article and comments regarding AB 884 which you and others can find on the home page of this website.

  11. Will Allen

    For all people who are okay with volunteering in ways that help people who want to see you, your spouse, and your children dead, how about you volunteer by showing up at these events instead? How about every time that you think you want to help a Registry Nazi that you instead go get in the face of key Nazis? Picket your local Registrars. Or legislator. Pick your favorite. Or how about build a gallows in your yard and create some beautiful effigies? That’s art therapy.

    I really think that if several hundred people started showing up at all of these things that it would be difficult to ignore. I think the same could be said about online meetings/forums. We can overwhelm the Nazis. We should.

    I don’t live in CA but I do talk to people where I live. It is extremely difficult. I’ve been in business for decades and I learned early on that it is best to keep your emotions well in check, in order to win. But the absolute most difficult problem that I have with talking to lying, spineless scumbags that support the Registries is resisting all urges to punch their faces in and strangle them like they deserve. THAT is the difficulty.

    • AJ

      “I really think that if several hundred people started showing up at all of these things that it would be difficult to ignore.”
      —–
      Agreed. And if those RCs attending the Assembly meetings and such were able to bring spouses, children, parents, etc., to show the ripple effect of these laws–and maybe have some speak to their own sufferings, it may go way further. The crappiest testimony from a non-RC will almost certainly be held in higher regard than the best testimony from a RC.

      • Roger

        @AJ, I agree we would like our families and friends to comeand support us.

        However, why would you announce you are a registrant? We don’t recommend that because that is not the point. The point is for lots of people to show up and state their opposition. That really does impress them! They realize they can’t just pass bills like this unopposed. It changes the dynamics, sometimes very significantly.

        Here is how it works: As the key opposition rep, Janice is given 5 minutes to speak. Then the rest of us make a line at the mic and just say “Hi, my name is ___ from the city of ___. I oppose this bill”. That’s it! Three seconds! Easy! In fact, they won’t let anyone but Janice say more than that in opposition because they are always tight on time. They have no way of knowing which, if any of us, are registrants!

        They just count the number of people who come to the mic.

        • AJ

          @Roger:
          Thanks for the info about the process. I didn’t understand it was so anonymous and brief. It may still be nice for the extended family to show up, especially if it’s merely a numbers game. Given I’m well outside CA, I won’t be partaking.

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