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Federal Government Publishes Proposed Changes to SORNA


The federal government yesterday published in the Federal Register proposed changes to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).  The changes encompass a total of 93 pages and include a wide range of topics, including retroactivity, tier levels, professional licenses and travel (both domestic and international).  Replies to the proposed regulations are due no later than October 13, 2020.

According to the proposed regulations, SORNA will apply to all individuals convicted of a sex offense, including those convicted before it was enacted.  The federal government claims to have this authority due, in part, to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Smith v. Doe, which declared that registration did not constitute punishment, but was instead merely an administrative requirement.

“Because the proposed regulations include so many pages citing their authority to apply SORNA to individuals convicted before it was enacted, it appears that they are concerned that this matter could be challenged in court,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “It is possible that ACSOL or another like minded organization will do so.”

According to the proposed regulations, SORNA requires all registrants to comply with its requirements “regardless of whether a registration jurisdiction has substantially implemented SORNA.”  This statement is important because currently only 17 of the nation’s 50 states have substantially implemented SORNA.

The proposed regulations repeat that the federal government places registrants in three tiers.  Those assigned to Tier 1 must register for 15 years while those assigned to Tier 2 must register for 25 years.  Individuals assigned to those tiers may reduce their period of registration based upon a list of factors.  Individuals assigned to Tier 3, however, must register for a lifetime.

The proposed regulations require additional information regarding employment, including whether a registrant has one more professional licenses.

“If the proposed regulations are adopted, we can expect the federal government to notify states that have issued a professional license to a registrant,” stated Bellucci.  “We are concerned that the states will, in turn, revoke those licenses.”

According to the proposed regulations, individuals will be required to notify their local registration office if they leave the jurisdiction for seven days or longer.  This requirement is proposed allegedly in order to protect children who reside at the location(s) where a registrant may visit.

The proposed regulations also address overseas travel for those subject to the International Megan’s Law.  Specifically, the regulations will require registrants to provide additional information to the federal government regarding their overseas travel such as whether they have dual citizenship and/or a passport issued by another country.

“ACSOL began its discussion of the proposed regulations on the same day they were published,” stated Bellucci.  “ACSOL will formally reply to the proposed regulations as an individual organization or in collaboration with like-minded organizations.”

Any individual that would like to volunteer to work with ACSOL on this effort should send an email to

Proposed rulemaking – SORNA – Aug 2020

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@MH and others – The proposed regulations are not limited to international travel, they also address domestic travel in some situations. Specifically, they require registrants to notify the state in which they live if they plan to leave the state for 7 days or longer or if they are moving out of the state permanently. If a registrant fails to do so, he can be arrested by the federal government as soon as he crosses the state boundary. Given that there are registration offices that would refuse to accept such notices, the registrant would be required to prove that he… Read more »

Janice, how do we help stop this? There doesn’t seem to be anyone in particular we can contact since this isn’t something the senate nor the people are voting on. This is just Barr doing his own thing because apparently he now has a blank check.

@SR – There are many people and organizations that are currently working on responses to the proposed regulations. Please be patient.

Thank you, Janice. I’ll continue supporting the efforts financially until a call goes out to do something else as well.

@Janice, I and several people I know would like to help fund any efforts regarding this specifically. Is there a way I can specify funds as going towards this effort, and where and how they should be directed? If I knew exactly what people and organizations specifically have something to do with this I could make sure funding help goes where it is going to be useful.

Below is an email I received from the ACLU in MI. Please go to the link above it will take you to the new Proposed Federal Guidelines for the Adam Walsh Act (SORNA). You should read this document and then submit your own comments. I will give you some ideas but please do not ask me what to say or to help you say it. I can only advise you that these guidelines are not good for our cause. We must fight this with your comments, and you can also put in what changes you think they should make… Read more »

The government knows that the whole registry & most of the laws are based on a lie because they had a study done in 1994. Which shows recidivism rates at 9% and the government has a study done on SO’s every year to date and every study except 1994 shows recidivism rates below 5%. They also had a State Hospital do a 5 year study and bout 2-2.5yrs into it the psychologist in charge of the study was show results complete opposite of what the government and Supreme Court stateed. Some say covid 19 is government made to reduce the… Read more »

Hello i have been runing all over for answer. I have dual citizenship and i relocated to chile in November 2018. In November 15, 2020 I came back for health issued and my US passport was taken away from customs with no reason given.
When i call huston they said that the state department has order to be taken away. I apply for a new passport that has not been given to me and i need to return to Chile where i live.
I need help

@Erick: Do you not have a Chilean passport?

You may want to contact the embassy/consulate of your other country of citizenship to try to get emergency issuance of a passport. Relying on the slugs in the US Gov’t will be fruitless for the most part, especially if your permanent address is outside the country.

Do you have a Chile passport you could use? If left at home, can it be mailed to you, or could you talk to the Chilean embassy to get one issued?

I’m not sure that is even allowed. The US government requires citizens of the United States to use a US passport when entering and exiting the unit states when they are a dual citizen. Your only choice is probably to get a new one expedited. You may also be able to contact passport services and explain the issue to get it more quickly.

Keep in mind too, all, some states require notification if you’re going to be gone for a minimum duration that is less than 7 days, e.g. 5 days; thus more stringent than the Feds. If you don’t know your state’s, check on it.

This “telling the criminal regime when you leave town” nonsense is even more unacceptable than the Registries in general. The criminal regimes can’t justify it either. It is a probation/parole requirement that is illegal to inflict upon free citizens. Supposedly, according to their original lies, the Registries were created just so people could be “informed” about the people around them. That actually makes sense and could possibly be a legitimate reason to have Registries. The ONLY legitimate reason to have Registries (in a supposedly “free” country) is to prevent future crimes. That is the only legitimate reason. Given that, why… Read more »

This has to be the opportunity to return to SCOTUS, bringing all current findings on recidivism as well as the accumulation of restrictions developed since their original findings on what constitutes punishment regarding ex post facto limitations. Punishment = restriction of liberties. The general assumption of ex post facto is that for a functional system, rules and punishments in effect at the time a crime is committed is assumed to be known. Punishment for a crime has had fair warning, do this you get that. To accumulate the additions of restrictions created by the registry after the commission of the… Read more »

Criminal politicians are never to going to destroy their mess. It’s going to have to be the courts or something. I really don’t think recidivism is relevant though. Let’s say the recidivism is frightening and high at 80%. And you have some choices to try to fix that problem: x – decreases recidivism by 50% y – does not affect recidivism z – increases recidivism by 20% Which of those you going to do? Are you going to do “z”? Even if “z” makes you happy? Of course not. “z” is the Registry Hit Lists. It doesn’t matter what the… Read more »

I do agree mostly but I do think ex post facto is a serious problem still right now. That said the ex post facto argument disappears in time because eventually older offenders that can make ex post facto arguments are no longer around and the rules for registrants, at least at its core, have existed for long enough that everyone convicted isn’t having things applied to them ex post facto as the rule was there already when the committed their offense. Still, this registry is a useless piece of trash even if its not being applied to someone in an… Read more »

@ Will Allen (RLAG): On exactly what basis would you argue against the Registries?? If you wouldn’t use the argument of recidivism rates upon which the registries are falsely premised…. And you wouldn’t use the argument of Ex Post Facto punishment which is what the Registries have become….. So upon exactly what would YOU base YOUR anti-Registries argument?? 🤔

P.S.: Besides, if any of my information DOES happen to change anytime during the year, I am ALREADY required by law to update my registration within a few days. 😠

Well, Barr is gone now , are these proposal in effect now? I am applying to get off the registry but the Prosecutor don’t want too, siting an add put up on Craigslist that they say I did in 2016 which looks like cut and paste. It was an add about me offering sanctuary to kids. Which I never have. I only posted adds for a room mate to offset my rent . Women next to me retaliated I think for calling police on them . That’s my thoughts. But I have my military career that might work for me,… Read more »

This purely sucks. Will soon send $ towards ACSOL soon again.

@MC – There are at least two ways to ensure donated funds are used to oppose the SORNA regulations. First, you can donate using the “Donate” button and in doing so there is a “comment” section where you can add the donation is for that purpose. Second, you can mail a check to ACSOL at 1215 K Street, 17th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 and add “SORNA” on the “memo” line of the check. If anyone wants to make a donation of $1,000 or larger to a charity and possibly receive a tax credit, please send email to me at… Read more »

Registrants and supporters, don’t forget ACSOL in your estate planning. We are in this fight for the long run, and won’t give up until we win full justice for all registrants!

And if you are fortunate enough to have stocks that have gained value in this rally, you can donate them to ACSOL and receive benefits. Before you do, contact us to get the details.

@Janice, thanks, I’ll have someone reach out to you.

Tell them every time I leave the state for 7 or more days. Nah. I travel to see family and friends frequently. Can someone please tell me how and who would actually be able to enforce such a non sense law? I’m pretty sure they have their hand busy with other things.

(I have to wonder how much of this Federal SORNA rules expansion is a direct result of Jeffrey Epstein’s dumbass escapades. 🤔😠)


Any good opponent learns from their losses including our US Gov’t. So, yes, Epstein has helped them as have other cases in the proposed reg updates.

One reason so many States are not compliant with the federal law is because the federal law is expensive and requires keeping track of so much information. States with sparse populations will have trouble regularly with maintaining enough personnel to insure registry data is correct. Most of the updates need to be done in person so forget simply traveling to a registration office and think about the cost of having to personnel to go do checks across a state. In populous States the personnel might be around to a certain extent, but a few too many updates simultaneously in rapid… Read more »

@ AB: If any Registrant ever plans to leave his/her home State, these new SORNA Rules could very likely apply to him/her and, thus, he/she could be a potential target for federal SORNA prosecution. How? Because the feds could use “interstate commerce” as a way to prosecute the Registrant. Are you okay with that risk?? I certainly am NOT!

Can someone explain this to me in a way I can understand? I know little about SORNA. So, is this a proposal for CA to adopt SORNA? If so, per SORNA Tier I has to register for 15 years, so why did CA fight for the Tiered Registry then? With the Tiered registry, Tier I has to register for 10 years. So, IF CA adopts SORNA, it will be 15 years regardless? I am just really confused. The whole Tiered registry was to get people off the registry because it got too big. Plus, for some now 4 times a… Read more »

Essentially, 33 states failed to implement most of SORNA after 14 years. Then you got Epstein using this to not register in Arizona. So the feds ended up with egg on their faces. So now they are saying they don’t care about state law. You the individual will abide by SORNA, regardless of state law – unless the state refuses to follow federal law. These guideline clarify that as a primer for the wave of prosecutions to come. If you are a federal offender or state offender who travels in interstate commerce you will be prosecuted for failure to abide… Read more »

@Someone Who Cares – If the federal government finalizes the proposed SORNA regulations, an argument can be made that every person in every state must comply with them regardless of state law.

I have been on the registry for approximately 20 years. In all that time, I have been required to register once a year. One annual registration. Once per year. Now because of the offense I was convicted of 20 plus years ago, SORNA would have me register four times per each year. So, AG Barr and minions, please explain to me how I have suddenly become four times more dangerous than in all the preceding 20 preceding years this necessitating that I now register four times per year?? Furthermore, if all of my information remains exactly the same all year… Read more »

You know David, our consicence is a gift from God and when aligned with faith and truth it is a guiding light that tells us right from wrong. Yes we all have our measures of faith some weak and some strong. Its sad that some may have none. Who can makes well being or a calamity. David a lot of this registry is down right pathetic. The main purpose of any police or sheriff’s dept is to protect and serve the public but it appears to go above all this in these type of conspiricy,antagonism, or bribary in this debate… Read more »

To Saddles: 🤔To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep, No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off… Read more »

Why does the US Government keep saying that sex offenders have high recidivism rates when there study they did in 1994 show’s recidivism rates below 5%. The title of the study is ” Recidivism Rates of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994 and you van find that on the Doj’s website

The basis of the registry is the high recidivism rate. Saying it over and over gives it confirmation. If anyone disputes it… it’s because of the few cases that are” brought to light” 91.7% of rapes go unreported etc.

SCOTUS dismissed the Texas suit against four other states for not adhering to the rest of the country in running their elections. SCOTUS essentially stated it had no remedy for the suit and implied that states can do whatever they want to do in their states despite the election being a federal election. Thus, anything those 4 states in the Texas suit can do anything and it will accepted by the federally. If our particular case of AG Barr trying to enforce a nationwide program for all to abide by equally, then CA doesn’t have to abide by the retroactive… Read more »

@New person. I think we all see it this way. The issue is that the proposed changes are an attempt to make an end run around the states rights by having states take registrant information from those required to register under SORNA but currently don’t and are not required to register in their state. Since the state implementations don’t often address situations where a person wants to register (because the feds require it) but it is not required under state law that they do at least some states may register these people when they request this even when the state… Read more »

A bigger issue is that many of the requirements under SORNA are only part of the guidelines (i.e., notification when away from home for 7 days). The AWA does not actually contain that requirement, or many of the other requirements SMART has added. Without express legislative intent in the law, I don’t see how someone can legally be convicted of breaking one of these add-ons. Apart from Gundy (retroactivity), this is one other way this can be attacked under separation of powers.

42 USC 16914 section 7 seems to delegate the right to require the 7 day travel notice where it says any other registration information is to be collected as required by the attorney general. So while the delegation of retroactivity powers is narrow, the other part about what information is able to be collected per AG direction rather broad. To me, the argument the registrant might have here is that this was not the intent of this delegation or that it is unconstitutional as having to give 7 day notices goes far beyond smith v doe

Gundy was about delegation authority. Likewise, I believe these many proposed new SORNA regulations could be argued under the same issue of whether this authority had appropriately been delegated by government’s legislative branch to the DOJ or not. At what point does the DOJ have to stop making all these new laws that it wants to implement along with, of course, the attached punishments they’d like to impose???

@ New Person: With regard to Texas versus Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, etc, Texas has no standing to sue the other states. Period. It’s none of Texas’s business how those other states choose to run their elections. If there is concern about election fraud, I guarantee you there are plenty of people in each of those states who are more than willing & able to sue the States’ elections officers for what they consider fraud, voting irregularities, etc. It’s not the job of Texas to sue other States. With regard to California or any other state running their own SOR program,… Read more »

@David, SCOTUS essentially stated that the states can do what they want despite having federal provisions (elections). Federal elections supposedly are supposed to be equal, but SCOTUS said they don’t care. Although only two justices were willing to hear the suit, those two same justices also stated there was no remedy. Again, reiterating that federal law doesn’t need to be implemented nationwide. CA isn’t taking any SORNA money as they’re not part of the SORNA program. Thus, forcing the all the states to follow SORNA is moot as per this SCOTUS decision. Does the federal gov’t have standing? Since CA… Read more »

It needs to be remembered too that states are audited for SORNA compliance and rated to receive partial percentage of funds for partial compliance (or used to) if they want.

One would think that the States have an interest in not being held to funds being withheld based on the whims of DOJ, such as non-compliance with additional requirements not spelled out in SORNA. If they were going to withhold fund over one of their made up requirements, I would fight it. Many states talk big about small government (federal) and not being pushed around by federal regulators making up stuff (like EPA Climate standards) – but when it comes to SORNA they just bend over.

So, I wonder, at what point do all the myriad State and federal laws, rules, requirements & restrictions become so overly convoluted and confusing and entirely unintelligible, that courts will finally recognize them as unenforceable due to excessive complication & contradiction??? (Similar perhaps to “void for vagueness”, but many of the laws, rules, requirements and restrictions are exceedingly precise – though nonetheless excessively convoluted, complicated and contradictory.) Furthermore, all these damned laws, rules, requirements and restrictions are constantly being changed, amended, modified, etc. by every new jackass politician trying to make a name for him or herself. Personally, I find… Read more »

So started watching a documentary last night on NetFlix called 13th which outlines the history in the U.S around mass incarcerations since the 1970s. Seems like there has been a powerful lobbying group called ALEC who literally writes these punitive laws on behalf of lawmakers in order to keep private prison populations full as possible. ALEC’s core has been big corporations who have special interests in certain laws being passed for monetary gain. Members of ALEC include all the major private prison corporations in this country and you can damn well be rest assured, that as none of these registration… Read more »

That’s great. I wonder what this will mean for the new SORNA regulations? Hopefully that means they’ll be scrapped entirely.

I’m on the SOR in Arizona (Maricopa County). I’m a retired 72 year old. Sentence in 2013 for Public Sexual Indecency that by Arizona Statutes and stipulated in my court sentence, my offense is Non-Dangerous, Non-Repetitive, Not a dangerous crime against children, a low-level class-5 felony, a no-contact, non-violent offense. And I have no other felony sex offenses or violent offenses of any kind. My Probation evaluation puts me at the Lowest Risk category (based on testing). — In any case, the Phoenix Police Department who determines my Sex Offender LEVEL, has designated me as a Level-2 (rather than a… Read more »

After reading the Sorna-Proposed Rulemaking I am a little confused about something. If I read this correctly the Supreme Court ruled that they are not allowed to make this retroactive beyond when SORNA was introduced in February 2007. And I do believe I read it correctly that it included (people) sentenced and released before that date. So, my question is since I was sentenced on December 5th 2006 I don’t have to follow SORNA OR MEGAN’S LAW. Is there anyone who can help me out figuring out the truth.

There was a period of time between when the law passed and when the USAG decided to formally make it retroactive.

The US government tried to convict people who failed to register during that period, who convicted before it passed and before it was formally made retroactive. SCOTUS said failure to register during that lapse was not a crime.

However, make no mistake, failure to register after Feb. 2007 for those with prior convictions is a crime.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x