Griffith Statement on Northam Veto of Bill to Protect Emergency Shelters from Violent Sex Offenders

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement after Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA) vetoed House Bill 2303 and Senate Bill 1047, which would require registered sex offenders to notify staff at emergency shelters of their registration status. It would further allow staff the option to deny those convicted of a “sexually violent offense” access to the shelter for a time to protect others.

“I am deeply disappointed that Governor Northam vetoed this commonsense public safety measure. Emergency shelters should be safe havens during times of crisis. The legislation would require a registered sex offender to notify a shelter’s staff upon admission to the facility. It would also give staff the ability to deny admission to a convicted ‘violent sex offender’ for the purpose of protecting others. These are reasonable requirements.

“Parents who have evacuated their homes and gone to shelters should not need to worry that someone convicted of a ‘sexually violent offense’ is feet away from their sleeping children.”

Background 

During his years in the Virginia House of Delegates, Griffith championed legislation to require the identification of sexual predators and authored Virginia’s Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators law.

The term “sexually violent offense” is defined in the code of Virginia in § 9.1-902 and referenced in the bill vetoed by Governor Northam.

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