The 2015 General Assembly isn’t over yet. Last Friday, we sent letters to Governor McAuliffe urging him to sign, amend, or veto certain legislation passed during the legislative session. The Governor has until midnight on March 29th to act.
Here’s what we asked him to do:
- Sign legislation seeking to rein in the surveillance state. HB 2125 and SB 1301 would require a search warrant for drone use by law or regulatory enforcement agencies. HB 1673 and SB 965 would limit to seven days the length of time that law enforcement can keep data collected from innocent Virginians by automatic license plate readers.
- Veto legislation to expand the sex offender registry. SB 1074 and HB 1353 would mandate the creation of a supplemental sex offender registry on the Virginia State Police website that does nothing to make us or our kids safer and lacks basic safeguards to ensure that innocent Virginians are not labeled as sex offenders.
- Veto legislation that would erect additional barriers to the polls. HB 1318 would require qualified, registered, and eligible absentee voters to provide proof of valid photo ID by mail. In addition to the basic fact that the law requires individuals to send a photo ID to polling officials who have nothing to compare the photo with, under HB 1318, low-income Virginians, rural voters, racial and ethnic minorities, students, and the elderly who rely on the absentee ballot by mail method may be disproportionately disenfranchised because they are more likely to lack a valid, photo ID.
- Amend legislation to protect minors from involuntary commitment. SB 773 and HB 1717 would make it easier for parents to commit their children to inpatient psychiatric treatment without the minor’s consent. This legislation is in direct conflict with the recommendations of medical experts and is not a substitute for providing needed services for families in their communities. The Governor should amend the language to ensure that we don’t open the door to abuse in the form of unnecessary and unwarranted deprivations of liberty and return to a time where parents simply “warehoused” teens with behavioral issues in in-patient psychiatric facilities.