Tomorrow, I will once again travel the roughly 240 miles round trip to the state capitol building to once again attend the Senate Judiciary Committee's meeting. This will be the third time I have attended their meeting in hopes that the HB1408 bill would be presented, along with many other bills targeting sex offenders on the agenda.
For the past two sessions, the representatives who would be presenting these bills were not in attendance and therefore the bills could not be presented. I noticed, both times, that there were many people in the audience that were from law offices, various sheriff's offices and representatives from the ACIC. It astounds me that the representatives who obviously felt it was important enough to draft up these bills just couldn't find the time to be there when it came time to present them. Perhaps they are aware that so many people wish to speak against these bills and maybe they're hoping that if they keep missing the meetings, that people will lose interest themselves and stop coming. I don't know. That is merely speculation on my part and I'm not accusing anyone of anything. These are simply my own personal observations and admittedly, I am learning as I go, how things operate at the capitol building.
Yesterday, upon leaving the capitol building after the senate judiciary committee meeting was adjourned without much accomplished, I was walking behind two of the legislators who were busily patting each other on the back, congratulating each other on a "good day" at the capitol and all I wanted to do was run up and smack them across the face. Of course, I didn't, but I wanted to.
Truthfully, if this is how things are done in our country's legislative sessions, I am totally embarrassed on behalf of the U.S. No WONDER I've never wanted to involve myself in politics, I guess I always inherently knew that our legal system was pretty much corrupt and basically a joke. As a child, I grew up listening to my folks' sordid portrayal of our judicial system. They knew, even back then, how incompetently things were done.
Anyway, as I look over the ever-growing senate judiciary committee agenda, I see more and more bills being added on a daily basis. Now we have:
HB1243: TO PROVIDE FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE SEX OFFENDER ADDRESS LATE VERIFICATION FEE.
SB320: AN ACT TO REMOVE THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON SEXUAL OFFENSES.
SB327: AN ACT TO PROHIBIT EXPOSING A CHILD TO RECORDED OR PRINTED PORTRAYALS OF SEX ACTS.
SB329: AN ACT TO INCLUDE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS, ATHLETIC COACHES, AND COUNSELORS AMONG PERSONS WHO ARE GUILTY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE SECOND DEGREE FOR SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A STUDENT LESS THAN TWENTY-ONE (21) YEARS OF AGE.
HB1015: TO MANDATE AN ADDITIONAL FINE FOR ANY PERSON CONVICTED OF A FELONY SEX OFFENSE.
HB1406: TO AMEND THE PROCEDURES FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL OF A SEX OFFENDER ASSESSMENT OF A SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR.
HB1408: TO PROHIBIT LEVEL 2 SEX OFFENDERS FROM LIVING WITHIN TWO THOUSAND FEET FROM A SCHOOL, PUBLIC PARK, YOUTH CENTER, OR DAYCARE.
SB741: AN ACT TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF "SEXTING" AND TO CREATE THE OFFENSES OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE STALKING OF A CHILD AND COMMUNICATING IMPROPERLY USING A WIRELESS DEVICE WITH A MINOR.
HB1368: CONCERNING VISITATION RIGHTS WITH A MINOR CHILD FOR A PARENT LISTED ON THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY.
SB810: CONCERNING THE REGISTRATION OF SEX OFFENDERS; TO REQUIRE REGISTRATION PAYMENTS TO BE MADE.
There are a grand total of 69 bills awaiting presentation on tomorrow's agenda, with two set as deferred bills. I'll actually be surprised if they present even just five of them tomorrow.
So, my car is gassed up... again. Each trip to Little Rock costs me roughly $50 in gas, and that doesn't include lunch (or in yesterday's case, dinner, too). I am not made of money. If I don't get paid for my next freelance job soon, I'll have to quit going and believe me when I tell you: I don't wanna quit going.
I need to stand up and speak up against HB1408. If not for me, my husband, and all the other registered sex offenders out there, but for the sake of my daughter.