UPDATE 9-3-2011: It has just been reported that, someone had used a Group's name (now omitted) without the authority of the group. Accordingly, we have made changes and apologize to the Group, and made the change as soon as we were notified.9-2-2011 National:
Over the past few days I have had several folks ask me to sign and pass on various Petitions with respect to the Second Chance Reauthorization Act. I have declined to do so because a Petition is not the proper way to effect the changes in the Second Chance Act, RIGHT NOW! Petitions are USELESS when a bill is ---IN PROGRESS--- meaning lawmakers are considering the bill RIGHT NOW! This is the case with the Second Chance Reauthorization Act.
In July when the Second Chance Reauthorization Act was introduced I posted it in my blog WITHOUT suggesting folks do anything, then it did not contain anything negative towards any former sex offender. Then when the Senate Committee made changes affecting former sex offenders, negatively, I posted an UPDATE in my blog and suggested folks contact their respective lawmakers in Congress and ask them to VOTE NO when this bill comes before them.
In addition I noted: "The bill has been placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 108." which means the FULL Senate HAS NOT YET voted on the bill, in other words the bill has not passed the Senate yet! That means there is still time to contact Senators and since it has not yet gotten to the U.S. House, all U.S. Reps as well. The bill is still ---IN PROGRESS--- and there is time for some lawmakers to put in an amendment.
So my objection to the specific Petition put forth by (Now Omitted Group) is, why have folks spend their time today --signing the petition-- when they should be contacting their respective lawmakers in Congress TODAY because the bill is still --IN PROGRESS-- and can be changed, and doing that, if successful, would avoid having to go to Washington DC and speak to lawmakers in the fall.
I am not one to PASS AN OPPORTUNITY when it presents itself, and today there is still time for lawmakers to make changes, that is my only objection! One final point, when I read the (Now Omitted Group Name) Petition I did not see any instructions for signers, as to what they should do TODAY other than sign the petition. That is a lost opportunity.
My message today is intended to be instructive, and not viewed otherwise. I will always support proper efforts of Advocates whatever their message or petition may be, as long as it helps registrants and or their families.
Note: All of the OTHER Second Chance Act Petitions I was asked to sign and pass on, those petitions are totally useless for some of the reasons I mention under "Reviewing Petitions" below.For now have a great day and a better tomorrow.
THE NEW WHITE HOUSE PETITIONING PROCESS: Without getting into a long discussion folks need to remember, that, those petitions can only affect FEDERAL law. The President has no jurisdiction to change state laws. In addition, the President CANNOT change the existing procedure which is used to enact laws. i.e., asking him to intervene in the Second Chance Reauthorization Act to include former sex offenders, is something he cannot do, he simply cannot change how Congress does what it does. Whatever he is asked to do, will likely be something done over a long period of time, if he decides it is an issue worth addressing.
REVIEWING PETITIONS: Folks Need to Review Petitions for Signs of the Following: Online Petition sites are a easy way for folks to make a statement, but statements do not change laws, they merely express the opinion of the Petition creator. Too often these online Petition sites are used to edify the creator, or get more folks to become members of the Petition creator's website without explaining to possible signers that is what they are doing.
It is very easy to make a statement that folks will agree with (ex: Petition to get the Adam Walsh Act Repealed), who if they are affected by such a hateful law would not want to get on board with such a petition. Folks need to look deeper at the petition, and ask, can the petition accomplish what it says? I am not speaking of the person who created the petition here, instead, is a petition the proper instrument to accomplish what it appears to want to do?
Today's laws are crafted and enacted into law, based on a constitutional procedure. Folks must follow that procedure, and not try to circumvent that procedure, if one circumvents it (on purpose or through ignorance of the proper way) then all efforts will be ignored by lawmakers. Worse yet, the signers, thinking they are helping, their efforts are nothing but a waste of their time.
In baseball, football or any other sport, they have rules, and if players ignore the rules or try to circumvent them, the ref will call foul and the player and his/her team pays the price. Here our movement will suffer because of these erroneous petitions, no matter how well spirited they may have been intended when created. Folks need to learn the process used by Congress and follow it religiously.