As we approach the end of April 2021, we are waiting for the “other shoe” to drop. In fact, we are waiting for two shoes to drop.
The larger shoe comes in the form of SORNA regulations proposed by the federal government nine months ago. The regulations, if finalized, would result in great uncertainty for more than 950,000 registrants and their families.
That is because the regulations would require registrants to meet new federal requirements, such as the disclosure of all internet identifiers and foreign passports. The regulations would also require registrants to attempt to register with local law enforcement up to four times a year in states that are likely to refuse to do so.
The federal government issued its proposed regulations in August 2020 and has remained silent about its regulations since that time. They have not acknowledged the fact that they received more than 700 public comments, including a 36-page comment from ACSOL, regarding the proposed regulations. And they have not indicated whether they will modify the proposed regulations based upon the comments they received. Nor have they indicated whether they will finalize the originally published regulations and if so, at what time.
During a few discussions with federal government officials, it has been implied that the proposed federal regulations are likely to be finalized. Those implications, however, do not constitute an official opinion and therefore we continue to wait for a final decision. In the meantime, the group of legal professionals who created ACSOL’s 36-page comment are preparing for the worse – finalization of the original version of the proposed regulations.
The smaller shoe comes in the form of the Tiered Registry Law in California. Although this law was passed more than three years ago, the state government has not yet issued the form that will be necessary to file in order for an individual to petition for removal from the registry. With only 60 days left before petitions can begin to be filed, registrants and attorneys remain in the dark regarding what information will be required in order to prepare and file a petition.
What is taking the state government so long? Could it be that the state government doesn’t care that many individuals in California who have registered for 40 years or longer will be eligible to petition for removal in two months?
It is imperative that the Tiered Registry petition forms be released immediately so that ACSOL, registrants and private attorneys can begin to prepare and file petitions on behalf of registrants. The state government has had more than three years to create the petition form and there is no excuse for further delay.
If you would like to be notified when either or both of these shoes drop, please provide ACSOL with your email address in the special Tiered Registry and SORNA signup form (it will soon be available below the Email Alerts signup form). ACSOL will report those events as soon as that information is available.