Dear Members and Advocates,

Happy New Year!

2020 started out great as we closed the year meeting a funding goal in the “Non-Registrant Collateral Consequences Challenge”! Because of a super-generous matching pledge from one of our members, the first five thousand dollars of donations towards that challenge were matched, dollar for dollar. That meant the $5,125 we received by 11:59 on December 31st, brought us to $10,125 at midnight on January 1, 2020! Thank you so very much to all who have contributed to the challenge and especially to the benefactor who put up the matching contribution! We can now definitively say that a new lawsuit will be in the courts soon.

Another interesting thing happened at the tail end of 2019. Rep. Chuck Brannon III filed a Bill, House Bill 1055, that impacts parts of the registry in ways that are directly addressed in the “Ex Post Facto Plus” lawsuit. It’s almost as if the lawsuit had something to do with the Bill. Specifically, the lawsuit argues that the wording “within 48 hours before” is vague and doesn’t afford an opportunity to register during periods that registration offices are closed (most of which are closed for weekends, which are periods longer than 48 hours). The Bill replaces the word “within” with “at least”, requiring at least 48 hours’ notice before establishing a residence of 3 or more days (ie: travel), but any unknown travel must be reported as soon as possible. The lawsuit also argues that IN PERSON registration is required for a lot of trivial changes, such as renting a car. Well, the Bill added vehicle changes to the list of things that can be reported online. While our position is that things like short-term travel and vehicle rentals should not be registered at all – at least the ball seems to be moving in the right direction.

We suspect that it’s not a coincidence that HB 1055 contains these items, but if it’s truly a coincidence (which again, we suspect it’s not) it’s refreshing to see a legislator sees some of the issues the lawsuit raises. There are a few other relevant changes the Bill includes which, despite having run it past a half dozen attorneys, we’ve been unable to decipher. Our legislative committee has reached out to Rep. Brannon’s office for clarification on their intent and effect. If positive, this might be one we support and the first indication that the legislature (or at least someone in the legislature) is introducing common sense.

On another note, if the catalyst for the Bill is to correct some infirmities pointed out in the lawsuit, this is just another illustration of how important it is for us to focus on all three prongs of our work; education, legislation and litigation. Litigation may have prompted a change in legislation, but education is what will prevent the general public from going up in arms over a bill they might see as favorable to registry reform and actually allow common sense to pass. Please stay tuned and look out for a call to action once we decide on a position with respect to this Bill. 2020 Legislative session is one week away and we feel confident that we have a larger, more informed, and better prepared membership base than we had in previous years.

Another exciting first is coming up this month. The Florida Action Committee, in conjunction with the Broward County Criminal Justice Reentry Task Force’s Sex Offender Housing Sub-committee is organizing a FREE open to the public event the evening of January 27th. At the event we will be screening excerpts from the award-winning documentary film “Untouchable”, which presents a balanced look at the state of registration requirements in Florida, and we will have a panel discussion featuring a supervisor from the Department of Corrections, a treatment provider, an attorney challenging the constitutionality of the registry laws, a reentry specialist with the federal government and our own Gail Colletta!

While FAC members are certainly welcome to come, our objective is to make sure we have as many representatives from the general public as we can invite – especially those who need to be educated on the facts. A copy of the event information can be found here: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/event/. If you are in the South Florida area or know anyone that should attend this event, PLEASE, PLEASE help us spread the word! Invite social groups, religious congregations, civic organizations, school PTAs, television, radio and news outlets and whomever else you think should attend. We are putting a lot of effort into this event and we certainly want it to be successful. If it is, similar events will be organized across Florida.

Join us this Thursday January 9th at 8pm ET.  Guest Speaker is Gail Colletta and she will be talking about 2019 accomplishments and our goals for 2020. Dial 319-527-3487.

2019 was pretty decent, but 2020 is going to be better! Let’s keep the momentum going!!!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


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Reminders:

JANUARY New Member Orientation call will be on Thursday January 16th.

Mon Jan 27, 2020 – Central Broward County – 6-9pm.  Community Event “A Courageous Conversation on Sexual Offense Issues”. Includes a public viewing of “Untouchable” documentary followed by a discussion of expert panelists.  For reservations, use https://floridaactioncommittee.org/event

Free Registrant Peer Support group (no therapist) meets in Pinellas Park area on 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm.

Free therapist-led Family Support session (no registrants) meets in Central Broward County once a month.

Feb 20th – Local Meet-and-Greet in Lakeland (Polk County).

Seating is limited for all events. For more information, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322.  No children please.


SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

Member Submission: IML and travel to the Bahamas

(Decided to share this story in hope it might keep somebody else from the humiliation i experienced with my family and add to your travel site data base ) Unfortunately i found out the hard way about International Megan’s Law while traveling to Bahamas on a…

Five Cases Could Significantly Reform Pennsylvania’s Sex Offense Registry.

From The Appeal The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to rule on five cases this year that could change how the state treats people convicted of sex offenses, and could ease the state’s sex offense registry restrictions, commonly referred to as Megan’s Law. But…

TN: Lawmaker Files Bill To Chemically Castrate Convicted Sex Offenders

Tennessee Republican Bruce Griffey introduced a bill that would require anyone convicted of a sexual offense against a child under the age of 13 to be chemically castrated, Under the language of the bill, which is nearly identical to that of a similar law approved…

Would you have taken the plea had you known… ?

One of the comments that irritates me the most is “well you should have thought of that before you…”. It was once said to me by a police officer who had just denied every single one of the proposed residences on the list I provided her because it ran afoul of their…

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