Dear Members and Advocates:

This past week, the Florida Action Committee attended and exhibited at the 2019 Florida Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Annual Conference and Membership Meeting. FATSA is the Florida affiliate of the international, multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization dedicated to making society safer by preventing sexual abuse. While most would think that an organization dedicated to making society safer would be in favor of the restrictions placed on people required to register as sex offenders, they are actually against most of the policies. To successfully reintegrate and avoid recidivism, former sexual offenders need support from family and the community. That includes access to stable housing and employment – which most current policies render impossible.

The conference was attended by approximately 150 people, which included treatment providers, attorneys from both the prosecution and defense, probation, researchers, and developers of treatment models.  FAC sponsored an exhibit table, where one of our board members assisted by a team of FAC volunteers, distributed information about FAC and spoke with attendees to answer questions and make personal contacts.  On Thursday evening, Dr. Jill Levenson and Shelly Kavanaugh held a session for family members of registrants to discuss their needs in an effort to develop programs for them. At their board meeting, our president, Gail, stressed the need for treatment professionals to make their voices heard in legislative matters.

A more comprehensive write up on the full two days of sessions will be posted to our site shortly. In summary, the event was very productive and by attending, we have the opportunity to speak to those in the treatment and reentry process and share our perspectives.

The Florida legislative session began last Tuesday and will run for 60 consecutive days. A table of current bills we are following has been posted to our website and can be found here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/2019-legislation/. The first bill we are taking action against is SB 540/HB 851, which is called “Human Trafficking”. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book (of course) and Rep. Fitzenhagen, would establish a “Soliciting for Prostitution Registry” under the fantasy that it would somehow prevent human trafficking. We all know that “human trafficking” is the buzzword politicians are using to generate support for items that have nothing to do with actual human trafficking.

The recent “human trafficking operations” in Florida massage parlors netted ZERO arrests for human trafficking, but cost taxpayers and low-level “happy ending” patrons millions. Capitalizing on that cash grab, this bill seeks to create another useless registry and funding for a “non-profit” to train hotel workers how to detect human trafficking. You know there’s something wrong when the individuals this bill is supposed to “protect” come out in opposition of it! For that reason, we’re asking members to contact their legislators today and ask them to OPPOSE this bill. Our call to action can be found here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/call-to-action-oppose-senate-bill-540/.

Get involved and let’s make change!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee

SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

Voting Rights: H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2019 passes House

H.R.1, the “For the People Act” of 2019, which contains a provision to restore the FEDERAL voting rights of individuals once they are released. It states, “The right of an individual who is a citizen of the United States to vote in any election for Federal office…

Broward, FL task force issues report and recommendations on sex offender housing problem

A subcommittee under the Broward County Reentry Coalition, which is comprised of representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, Florida State Department of Corrections, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, County Reentry programs, treatment providers, legal…

As Florida jails more kids than any other state, criminal justice reform is again on the table in Tallahassee

Thanks to decades of tough-on-crime policies, Florida now has the third-largest prison population in the United States — nearly 100,000 people, including more minors than any other state. Florida requires people to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences and has…

WA: House Passes Responsible Teen Communications Act

The Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 1742 on a bipartisan vote of 57-39. The Responsible Teen Communications Act, sponsored by Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), updates Washington’s laws to reflect current technology, and ensure minors sharing…

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