Public Comments for 01/21/2021 Public Safety - Public Safety Subcommittee
HB2087 - Emergency Services and Disaster Law; limitation on duration of executive orders.
No Comments Available
HB2149 - Emergency Services and Disaster Law; limits duration of executive orders to no more than 60 days.
No Comments Available
HB2216 - Va. Missing Child w/ Autism Alert Program; renames Va. Missing Person w/ Autism Program.
Last Name: Williams Locality: Henrico, VA. USA

Please support this bill!

Last Name: Delong Locality: Powhatan

Greetings Elected Servants, I urge you to OPPOSE the following bills: HB1909 - School Boards are offices with adult workers in them, just like thousands of offices across the Commonwealth. It makes no sense to treat them as if they were a school with children in them. HB1992 - This bill expands the number of things that qualify as misdemeanor domestic violence beyond what the federal government uses to take away gun rights. There is no provision to restore rights in the bill and it would create a lifetime ban on gun ownership for a mere misdemeanor. From a gun-rights perspective under this bill, the person charged would be better off seriously harming the other person and getting a felony conviction, from which their gun-rights could eventually be restored. HB2128 - This bill could make a person wait up to five business days for a background check approval, which would take more pressure off the government to do a timely background check. The promise to gun owners is that the background check system is supposed to be an INSTANT CHECK, not a five-day waiting period check, which, with weekends/holidays could be up to NINE-days in realtime. The current three days is more than sufficient. HB2276 - This bill was written without a clear understanding of the current law on homemade guns for a person's own use, which has been legal since America's founding. Besides banning personally-made guns completely, the bill makes the owners of such guns instant criminals, even if the owner had applied directly to the ATF for a serial number and put the serial number on the gun. HB2295 - A solution in search of a problem. There has been no events that justify stripping the very people represented by the General Assembly of their right to self-defense. Citizens have been carrying on Capitol grounds and buildings for years responsibly and without incident. Respectfully, James A. Delong Professional Husband, Father, and Paw-Paw Powhatan, Virginia 23139 Personal Mobile: 804.944.6592 Email: delong29@yahoo.com

Last Name: Young Organization: My self Locality: Powhatan

HB1909 - Permits School Boards to prohibit guns on their property. School Boards are offices with adult workers in them, just like thousands of offices across the Commonwealth. It makes no sense to treat them as if they were a school with children in them. HB1992 - Expands the number of things that qualify as misdemeanor domestic violence beyond what the federal government uses to take away gun rights. There is no provision to restore rights in the bill and it would create a lifetime ban on gun ownership for a mere misdemeanor. From a gun-rights perspective under this bill, the person charged would be better off seriously harming the other person and getting a felony conviction, from which their gun-rights could eventually be restored. HB2128 - Extends number of days a person can be delayed in purchasing a firearm. This bill could make a person wait up to five business days for a background check approval, which would take more pressure off the government to do a timely background check. The promise to gun owners is that the background check system is supposed to be an INSTANT CHECK, not a five-day waiting period check, which, with weekends/holidays could be up to NINE-days in realtime. The current three days is more than sufficient. Best to follow federal law on how long a transfer can be delayed. Even lawful buyers get held up this would be an undo burden. HB2276 - Makes most homemade guns illegal. This bill was written without a clear understanding of the current law on homemade guns for a person's own use, which has been legal since America's founding. Besides banning personally-made guns from 80% receivers completely, the bill makes the existing owners of such guns instant criminals, even if the owner had applied directly to the ATF for a serial number and put the serial number on the gun. Best to follow federal law on such guns.No evidence that 80% firearms are a problem. HB2295 - Would you really vote to limit a right in which you already have? There has been no events that justify stripping the very people represented by the General Assembly of their right to self-defense. Citizens have been carrying on Capitol grounds and buildings for years responsibly and without incident. It also prohibits guns in state buildings and parking lots, including rest areas

Last Name: Britt Locality: Suffolk

I don't approve of HB 1909, HB 1992 and HB 2128 because it may be resourceful as a deterrent for future violent crimes, but it's not the solution for the families and communities whose impacted presently. It will make it more difficult for hard working, honest citizens to protect themselves and their property. If in distress, this can create a life or death situation for a innocent victim(s). I only approve of HB 2276 if it can be proven in court that the firearm(s) recovered by law enforcement was either purchased illegally or stolen from it's original owner. I have no comment about HB 2295 because I was under the assumption that firearms were prohibited from state grounds unless if it's the property of the state. As of HB 2231 and HB 2216, I support these bills because 1. HB 2216 makes the safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth a priority regardless of age, race, gender or disability and 2. HB2231 is an additional resource law enforcement can use in the communities they serve to ensure transparency and restore communication and trust.

HB2226 - Criminal street gang reporting; notice & process for contesting entry of information into databases.
Last Name: Williams Locality: Henrico, VA. USA

Please support this bill WITH OUT the notification language.

Last Name: Annan Organization: The Activated People Locality: Herndon

Dear Honorable Members of The Courts of Justice, In response to questions and concers raised by the State Police, please see the below: Does the Bill provide for Witness/Informant protections? Yes. - “Evidence in support of such determination, provided that such evidence protects the personal identifying information of (a) and informants and witnesses involved” (lines 21-23 of Substitute bill 1/29/2021), repeated throughout, lines 63, 95, 103. - In attorneys’ experiences, all police reports and information already redacted, in 10 years of practice, never seen witness or informant’s information revealed. Complies with VA code for protection of witnesses, § 19.2-264.9. - Advocates conscious of this protection, the same orgs. That represent witnesses, victims, “snitches” also represent folks who have been alleged to be gang members in these databases. Does the Bill provide for confidentiality around ongoing investigations? Yes. - Sec. A ”unless providing such notification would compromise an active criminal investigation or compromise the health or safety of the person if the person is under 18 years of age.,” Provided same language multiple lines 23, 59, 95 of substituted bill 1/29/2021 Does the Bill Harmonize with Federal law? Yes. - This is a red herring issue. 28 CFR 23--- in fact, in it’s very writing, it says: “A project shall not include in any criminal intelligence system information which has been obtained in violation of any applicable Federal, State, or local law or ordinance. “ - This bill is about information placed into the system/database. (not taking out of) So if a state law says it would be a violation to enter information w/o notice to impacted person, then can't enter it into the crime reporting system. - Further, 28 C.F.R. Sec. 23.20(a), which permits law enforcement agencies to “collect and maintain criminal intelligence information concerning an individual only if there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal conduct or activity and the information is relevant to that criminal conduct or activity.” Gang membership (or alleged, hang out) alone is not a crime, so it falls outside the scope of the statute. Does this bill have costs? Nominal, if any. - Initial Fiscal note was $0. Should be limited to mailings. CA Bill saw reduction of entry of names into system by 56% (CAL Gangs Report 2018), after passage of bill due to overinclusion. The bill itself reduces costs.

Last Name: Annan Organization: The Activated People Locality: Herndon

Dear Honorable Members of The Courts of Justice, We, the undersigned, urge you to support HB 2226, a bill that will amend Code of Virginia § 52-8.6 Criminal Street Gang Reporting, so that all Virginia Residents will have greater transparency in police surveillance. These key changes will include: notice of a determination to enter one’s name into gang databases; right to contest designation; right to appeal designation; and annual reporting of entries of names into the database. The racial profiling of Black and Brown communities and immigrants means they are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement and then end up charged and, or, prosecuted for crimes, and in some cases deported. This system has in turn acted as a direct pipeline to the immigration system. As of January 2020, there are over 77,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement, and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area. According to the U.S. Census, Virginia (in order of greatest percentage) is comprised of 61.2% White, 19.9% Black, 9.8% Hispanic or Latinx, and 6.9% Asian. In blunt contrast to the population demographics, DMV gang databases over-included minority populations: 49.2% African Americans, 27.2% Latinx, 20.2% White, and 0.9% Asian. HB2226 will cut racial bias in the law, its practical application, and address the overinclusion of Black and Brown communities, while also ensuring organized information and accountability. Currently, there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in any database, and in particular, GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name. This highly subjective designation then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration. Nonetheless, these databases carry serious criminal and civil, immigration consequences. Most people are not even aware that they are in these databases. Often, the first time someone learns they are in the database is when they are in immigration court or at sentencing for even the most minor of offenses. Similar bills have been successful in California and Rhode Island. After enactment, California police reduced designations by 56%, due to overinclusion. Prince George’s County, Maryland is currently considering the same. We, the undersigned, ask you, please support HB 2226, the Transparency in Policing Bill, amending the criminal street gang reporting statute. In gratitude, Abu Unity Foundation ACLU of Virginia The Activated People Arlington for Justice AsylumWorks Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) CASA in Action Central American Resource Center Community Impact Everytown First Alliance Consulting LLC First Baptist Church of Vienna Humanization Project International Migrants Bill of Rights of Georgetown Law (Student Organization) March for Our Lives Maryland Carey Law Immigration Clinic- University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Northern Virginia Chapter Northern Virginia Equity Agenda Coalition Progress for All RISE for Youth Southerners On New Ground South County Task Force for Human Services Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax Virginia Grassroots Coalition Virginia Justice Forward Contact: Kofi Annan The Activated People theactivatedpeople@gmail.com Kelly White CAIR Coalition kelly@caircoalition.org

Last Name: Charles Brown Locality: Hampton

I, Charles Brown, support HB2226.

Last Name: Pannabecker Organization: VA NAACP Locality: Montgomery County, Blacksburg

I urge the Public Safety Committee Chair and Members to fully support all of the following: HB 1941 - Rasoul HB 2226 - Kory HB 2291 - Williams Graves HB 2325 - Hope HB 1941 - Rasoul would require that, whenever a law-enforcement officer discharges a firearm or weapon on a person resulting in death or serious bodily injury, any video or audio recording that relates to such incident produced or obtained by a law-enforcement officer be open to inspection and posted on a website that is available to the public or that clearly describes how the public may access such data. This legislation provides new protections for victims of police brutality, specifically Black and Brown victims. Accountability must be present in law enforcement if better relationships are to be fostered between them and Black communities, which is why I join the Virginia NAACP in supporting this crucial legislation. HB 2226 - Kory establishes a process that allows a person to contest the determination that they are a member of a criminal street gang, request information about whether their information has been entered any systems, request removal of their information from said systems, and petition a general district court for review of an agency's decision to enter his information into the systems. This legislation will provide a modern and advanced demonstration of Virginia attempting to combat its discriminatory past. Virginians deserve a chance to address any allegations that have been made about them, especially criminal affiliation, which is why I join the Virginia NAACP in supporting this important legislation. HB 2291 - William-Graves would add a sheriff's office to those law-enforcement agencies that may be overseen by a law-enforcement civilian oversight body created by a locality and adds a non probationary deputy sheriff to those law-enforcement officers who are subject to such body if created by a locality. This legislation provides new protections to prevent police brutality and hold law enforcement accountable. Permitting civilians to be included in the conversation of law enforcement allows for the fostering of better relationships in Virginia communities, specifically Black, which is why I join the VA NAACP in supporting this crucial legislation. HB 2325 - Hope would create the Office of the Department of Corrections Ombudsman. The bill enumerates the duties and powers of the Office to protect the livelihood of inmates such as providing information, as appropriate, to inmates, family members, representatives of inmates, Department of Corrections employees and contractors, and others regarding the rights of inmates. Legislation such as this provides new protections for inmates and their well being. Correctional facilities and officers must be held accountable now more than ever, which is why I join the VA NAACP in supporting this crucial legislation. Thank you for your time, consideration, and work on behalf of equity for Virginians.

Last Name: Kanoyton Locality: Hampton

VSC NAACP are in strong support of all checked bills

Last Name: Allen Organization: The Virginia Gang Investigators Association (VGIA) Locality: Chesapeake, VA

1. The proposed amendment is in conflict with Federal Law 28 CFR section 23 and release of information restrictions. 2. The provision that allows officers to claim exception for "ongoing criminal investigations" will not apply to the Department of Juvenile Justice or Department of Corrections, who may identify individuals and activity in their facilities, but do not necessarily conduct "ongoing criminal investigations" so you will be risking the safety of any juvenile or prisoner who has information in that system. Additionally, local and federal law enforcement partner with both of these entities because many of our states most dangerous gang members run gang sets on our streets from inside the facility. 3. There is already a federal purging process for removing gang intelligence from a database that is automatic after a period of five (5) years provided there is no new gang involvement. 4. This would apply to all organizations that meet the definitions under 18.2-46.1, which INCLUDES White supremacist groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and other organizations for which law enforcement maintains regular intelligence. Giving any of these organizations access to criminal intelligence or failing to gather intelligence on these organizations would be detrimental to your constituents. 5. Additional concerns would be the safety of inmates and juveniles who may have acted as informants, or sought assistance or protection from security threat groups. What about people seeking help from law enforcement when they are being terrorized by gangs or trying to get out of a gang, for fear of their name ultimately being put out to the gang or being labeled a “Snitch”. Even redacted, Gang members can figure out who the person is based on the described interactions. 6. Section F as written, does not allow for the database to be updated absent a conviction for new criminal activity, however, individuals may continue their gang affiliation and activities outside of predicate convictions, or may commit crimes they do not intend to benefit the gang, but ultimately do through "Street Cred". 7. The bill creates an administrative process for a Judge, who may not specialize in gangs, to determine on a clear and convincing standard that someone is an actual gang member. If the bill is only creating an administrative review of the agency decision, or allow an individual to contest the process, then the language falls short. Simply put, a clear and convincing standard determination of gang membership is less than a criminal standard. Constitutionally, you have a right under the 1st amendment to be a gang member. It's not illegal. A legal status determination (not protected), even if sealed, takes a (protected) investigatory classification, based on a secure process, and makes it available to the public through open court and docketing. 8. Criminal Court is the only time gang affiliation can be used against someone in compliance with the 1st Amendment Freedom of Association requirements. Court is in fact the ONLY appropriate time that someone should be hearing that information. You cannot be searched or detained solely for gang membership and it can only be triggered if charged with a predicate act. 9. Immigration is a federal process. State law does not control federal law or a federal process. Respectfully, Steve Allen VGIA Board member

Last Name: Fox Organization: member of NAACP Locality: Alexandria

Please vote yes on HB2226. This bill establishes a process for a person to contest a determination that they are a member of a criminal street gang, request information whether their information has been entered into state databases, request removal of their information, and also petition a general district court for review of an agency’s decision to enter their information into a state database.

Last Name: Annan Organization: The Activated People Locality: Herndon

Dear Honorable Members of The Committee on Public Safety, We, the undersigned, urge you to support HB 2226, a bill that will amend Code of Virginia § 52-8.6 Criminal Street Gang Reporting, so that all Virginia Residents will have greater transparency in police surveillance. These key changes will include: notice of a determination to enter one’s name into gang databases; right to contest designation; right to appeal designation; and annual reporting of entries of names into the database. The racial profiling of Black and Brown communities and immigrants means they are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement and then end up charged and, or, prosecuted for crimes, and in some cases deported. This system has in turn acted as a direct pipeline to the immigration system. As of January 2020, there are over 78,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement, and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area. According to the U.S. Census, Virginia (in order of greatest percentage) is comprised of 61.2% White, 19.9% Black, 9.8% Hispanic or Latinx, and 6.9% Asian. In blunt contrast to the population demographics, DMV gang databases over-included minority populations: 49.2% African Americans, 27.2% Latinx, 20.2% White, and 0.9% Asian. HB2226 will cut racial bias in the law, its practical application, and address the overinclusion of Black and Brown communities, while also ensuring organized information and accountability. Currently, there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in any database, and in particular, GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name. This highly subjective designation then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration. Nonetheless, these databases carry serious criminal and civil, immigration consequences. Most people are not even aware that they are in these databases. Often, the first time someone learns they are in the database is when they are in immigration court or at sentencing for even the most minor of offenses. Similar bills have been successful in California and Rhode Island. After enactment, California police reduced designations by 56%, due to overinclusion. Prince George’s County, Maryland is currently considering the same. We, the undersigned, ask you, please support HB 2226, the Transparency in Policing Bill, amending the criminal street gang reporting statute. In gratitude, Abu Unity Foundation ACLU of Virginia The Activated People Arlington for Justice AsylumWorks Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition) CASA in Action Central American Resource Center Community Impact Everytown First Alliance Consulting LLC First Baptist Church of Vienna Humanization Project International Migrants Bill of Rights of Georgetown Law (Student Organization) March for Our Lives Maryland Carey Law Immigration Clinic- University of Maryland Carey Immigration Clinic Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Northern Virginia Chapter Northern Virginia Equity Agenda Coalition Progress for All RISE for Youth Southerners On New Ground South County Task Force for Human Services Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax Virginia Grassroots Coalition Virginia Justice Forward Contact: Kofi Annan The Activated People theactivatedpeople@gmail.com Kelly White CAIR Coalition kelly@caircoalition.org

Last Name: Manoharan Organization: The Activated People Locality: Fairfax

My name is Gayatri with Moms Demand Action in Fairfax and The Activated People. Gang databases disproportionately impact black and brown communities without notice or appeal. This bill seeks to strengthen due process and offer recourse. Targeting black and brown boys and men based on racial profiling puts them in a prison system designed to never let them succeed in life. The current database provides zero notice, appeal, and accountability with the police and perpetuates the very system we are trying to eradicate. I support police reform and peace intervention workers. Changing the criteria to offer standardized guidelines and due process will help end abuse of power and contribute to reform by providing oversight and transparency. A citizen continuously placed into the prison system will feel traumatized, anger, and hopelessness which undermines peace intervention workers. A higher stringent review and appeal process will decrease recidivism leading to increased public safety. Please vote yes to pass HB2226. Thank you.

Last Name: Brown Organization: The Activated People Locality: HAMPTON

On behalf of The Activated People, I, Charles Brown support HB2226. If passed, HB 2226 will amend Code of Virginia § 52-8.6 Criminal Street Gang Reporting, so that all Virginia Residents will have greater transparency in police surveillance. These key changes will include:   Notice of a determination to enter one’s name into gang databases;  Right to contest designation;  Right to appeal designation;  And annual reporting of entries of names into the database.   The racial profiling of Black and Brown communities and immigrants means they are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement and then end up charged and, or, prosecuted for crimes, and in some cases deported.   This system has in turn acted as a direct pipeline to the immigration system.   As of January 2020, there are over 77,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement, and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area.   According to the U.S. Census, Virginia (in order of greatest percentage) is comprised of 61.2% White, 19.9% Black, 9.8% Hispanic or Latinx, and 6.9% Asian.   In blunt contrast to the population demographics, DMV gang databases over-included minority populations:  49.2% African Americans, 27.2% Latinx, 20.2% White, and 0.9% Asian.  HB2226 will cut racial bias in the law, its practical application, and address overinclusion of Black and Brown communities, while also ensuring organized information and accountability. Currently there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in any database, and in particular, GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name.  This highly subjective designation  then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration.  Nonetheless, these databases carry serious criminal and civil, immigration consequences.  Most people are not even aware that they are in these databases.  Often, the first time someone learns they are in the database is when they are in immigration court or at sentencing for even the most minor of offenses.   Similar bills have been successful in California and Rhode Island. After enactment, California police reduced designations by 56%, due to overinclusion. Prince George’s County, Maryland is currently considering the same.

Last Name: Williams Locality: Richmond

I'm in favor of HB2226. Being labeled a gang member can have a lifetime of consequences that can negatively impact a person's future - things such as being placed on probation for an indefinite amount of time, being given sentencing enhancements for suspected gang affiliation, being treated as guilty before proven innocent in traffic stops, being improperly violated as a citizen based on erroneous information. We had the great misfortune of my husband being incorrectly labeled as a gang member and it took an intervention from his probation officer to have him removed from the database. He was forced to go to the Department of Corrections' headquarters and be stripped, had each tattoo photographed, was connected to a polygraph machine and had to answer a series of questions and look at and explain several photographs. Whenever we were pulled over by police for minor traffic infractions, they would approach our vehicles with guns drawn. It was a complete nightmare; all because a CO put erroneous information in his file. He was assigned a gang PO and was placed on indefinite probation. There must be a better way; not only for innocent individuals, but for individuals who leave that lifestyle and change for the better. Please support this bill and stop tracking information of individuals who are not gang-affiliated.

Last Name: White Organization: Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition Locality: Washington

Public Safety Subcommittee Meeting Testimony by Kelly White, Director- Detained Adult Program, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition In Support of Transparency in Policing: Overinclusion of People of Color in Gang Databases in Virginia January 28, 2021 Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of Virginia residents (immigrants and mixed-status families, people of color, Black and Brown communities). My name is Kelly White and I am the Director of the Detained Adult Program at CAIR Coalition -- the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. In my role I regularly represent people who are detained by ICE and are denied liberty or even credibility because of police over-inclusion in gang databases. At CAIR, we have personally worked with people impacted by over-inclusion in gang Databases, including “John,” who was a Fairfax resident who entered the United States a few years ago, around age 20, fleeing gang violence in his Central American home. Soon after his arrival, he applied for asylum. While that application was pending, however, John was himself accused of gang membership in ways that still affect him today. There was no evidence of John’s gang membership, yet that accusation of John’s gang activity, was ultimately entered into evidence in John’s immigration case. John therefore found himself having to fight gang accusations with no basis. John was in immigration detention, during the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, but was able to win freedom from detention after the immigration judge found the allegation to be baseless. In Virginia, gang databases function with little transparency or due process, because a wide range of criteria is used by police to label communities of color as members or gang affiliates. These highly subjective criteria include: wearing white sneakers, wearing hair, nail polish, or clothing similar to gang style, identified as a gang member through reasonable suspicion, and living in neighborhoods where gang activity takes place. Currently there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in the main database, known as GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name. This highly subjective designation then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration. Nonetheless, these databases carry serious criminal and civil, immigration consequences. People I work with, often first learn of these allegations, in a state of shock and disbelief, while defending themselves from deportation, trying to remain here with their family and community, usually while seeking protection against the very gang they have been accused of being a member. HB2226 would require notification, opportunity to contest designation, and annual statistical reporting. California and Rhode Island enacted similar bills. Prince George’s County, Maryland is currently considering the same. After enactment, California police reduced designations by 56%, due to overinclusion. As of January 2020, there are over 77,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement, and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area. I ask you today to please support the Transparency in Policing Bill, also supported by the Activated People. Thank you. Kelly White, Esq. kelly@caircoalition.org (202) 769-5293

Last Name: Annan Organization: The Activated People Locality: Herndon

Dear Honorable Members of the General Assembly, The Activated People urge you to support HB 2226, a bill that will amend Code of Virginia § 52-8.6 Criminal Street Gang Reporting, so that all Virginia Residents will have transparency in policing. These key changes will include: notice of a determination to enter one’s name into the database; right to contest designation; right to appeal designation; and annual reporting of entries of names into the database. The racial profiling of Black and Brown communities and immigrants means they are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement and then end up charged and, or, prosecuted for crimes, and in some cases deported. This system has in turn acted as a direct pipeline to the immigration system. As of January 2020, there are over 77,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement, and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area. According to the U.S. Census, Virginia (in order of greatest percentage) is comprised of 61.2% White, 19.9% Black, 9.8% Hispanic or Latinx, and 6.9% Asian. In blunt contrast to the population demographics, DMV gang databases over-included minority populations: 49.2% African Americans, 27.2% Latinx, 20.2% White, and 0.9% Asian. HB2226 will cut racial bias in the law, its practical application, and address overinclusion of Black and Brown communities, while also ensuring organized information and accountability. Currently there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in any database, and in particular, GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name. This highly subjective designation then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration. Nonetheless, these databases carry serious criminal and civil, immigration consequences. Most people are not even aware that they are in these databases. Often, the first time someone learns they are in the database is when they are in immigration court or at sentencing for even the most minor of offenses. Similar bills have been successful in California and Rhode Island. After enactment, California police reduced designations by 56%, due to overinclusion. Prince George’s County, Maryland is currently considering the same. We strongly urge to you to please support HB 2226, the Transparency in Policing Bill, amending the criminal street gang reporting statute.

Last Name: Kent Organization: ACLU People Power Fairfax Locality: Great Falls

Support Who we are: ACLU People Power Fairfax is an independent grassroots organization that advocates for equal justice for all members of the community, including undocumented immigrants, regardless of race or ethnicity. Our primary goals are to end local and state government’s voluntary cooperation with ICE and to correct practices and policies that support systemic racism in our law enforcement. There are over 4,000 People Power volunteers in Fairfax. Our efforts reflect the views of our members, not necessarily those of the ACLU Virginia affiliate. We urge you to support HB 2226, a bill that will amend Code of Virginia § 52-8.6 Criminal Street Gang Reporting, so that all Virginia Residents will have transparency in policing. These gang databases over-included minority populations: 49.2% African Americans, 27.2% Latinx, 20.2% White, and 0.9% Asian. In blunt contrast, according to the U.S. Census, Virginia (in order of greatest percentage) is comprised of 61.2% White, 19.9% Black, 9.8% Hispanic or Latinx, and 6.9% Asian. HB2226 will cut racial bias in the law, its practical application, and address the overinclusion of Black and Brown communities, while also ensuring organized information and accountability. Currently, there is no notification requirement when someone is placed in any database, and in particular, GangNet, nor is there a manner to remove one’s name. This highly subjective designation ends up perpetuating in databases and court files around the nation. What we are asking for is: Notification, to allow for challenges and accurate information requirement Annual reporting-out to increase transparency Tightening of criteria Having the ability of Due Process, response required or flag that being reviewed Cross identification amongst systems As of January 2020, there are over 77,000 people in the GangNet database used by Virginia law enforcement and at least 7,000 from the Washington metro area. In blunt contrast to the population demographics, this designation then self-perpetuates into national records, including Immigration. We want to see more transparency and for all Virginians to have the ability to access their right to Due Process; therefore we are in support of House Bill 2226.

Last Name: Emanuel Locality: Suffolk

Correctional Officers deserve to paid fairly for the strenuous work that we do.

Last Name: Peters Organization: Northern Virginia Equity Agenda Coalition Locality: Arlington

In my capacity as Chair of the Northern Virginia Equity Agenda Coalition and on behalf of the coalition, I would like to support House Bill 2226, the “Criminal street gang reporting; notice & process for contesting entry of information into databases” legislation. The GangNet database “over-includes” nonwhite Virginians without them being cognizant that they have been included, much less without them having the means to dispute their inclusion. This amounts to the racial profiling of nonwhites by law enforcement: yet another facet of systemic racism and white supremacy. HB 2226 serves to mitigate this “over-inclusion.”

HB2231 - Group Violence Intervention Board and Division of Group Violence Intervention; established, report.
Last Name: Clement Locality: Alexandria

We should NOT eliminate minimal sentencing for impaired drivers in Virginia. Too many innocent people like my nephew are killed by those who drink and drive on our roads and their selfish actions should not be condoned.

Last Name: Dixon Organization: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Locality: Hampton

I actually believe that The group violins Intervention is the better program for Communities that are facing severe gotten violence

Last Name: Young Organization: My self Locality: Powhatan

HB1909 - Permits School Boards to prohibit guns on their property. School Boards are offices with adult workers in them, just like thousands of offices across the Commonwealth. It makes no sense to treat them as if they were a school with children in them. HB1992 - Expands the number of things that qualify as misdemeanor domestic violence beyond what the federal government uses to take away gun rights. There is no provision to restore rights in the bill and it would create a lifetime ban on gun ownership for a mere misdemeanor. From a gun-rights perspective under this bill, the person charged would be better off seriously harming the other person and getting a felony conviction, from which their gun-rights could eventually be restored. HB2128 - Extends number of days a person can be delayed in purchasing a firearm. This bill could make a person wait up to five business days for a background check approval, which would take more pressure off the government to do a timely background check. The promise to gun owners is that the background check system is supposed to be an INSTANT CHECK, not a five-day waiting period check, which, with weekends/holidays could be up to NINE-days in realtime. The current three days is more than sufficient. Best to follow federal law on how long a transfer can be delayed. Even lawful buyers get held up this would be an undo burden. HB2276 - Makes most homemade guns illegal. This bill was written without a clear understanding of the current law on homemade guns for a person's own use, which has been legal since America's founding. Besides banning personally-made guns from 80% receivers completely, the bill makes the existing owners of such guns instant criminals, even if the owner had applied directly to the ATF for a serial number and put the serial number on the gun. Best to follow federal law on such guns.No evidence that 80% firearms are a problem. HB2295 - Would you really vote to limit a right in which you already have? There has been no events that justify stripping the very people represented by the General Assembly of their right to self-defense. Citizens have been carrying on Capitol grounds and buildings for years responsibly and without incident. It also prohibits guns in state buildings and parking lots, including rest areas

Last Name: Britt Locality: Suffolk

I don't approve of HB 1909, HB 1992 and HB 2128 because it may be resourceful as a deterrent for future violent crimes, but it's not the solution for the families and communities whose impacted presently. It will make it more difficult for hard working, honest citizens to protect themselves and their property. If in distress, this can create a life or death situation for a innocent victim(s). I only approve of HB 2276 if it can be proven in court that the firearm(s) recovered by law enforcement was either purchased illegally or stolen from it's original owner. I have no comment about HB 2295 because I was under the assumption that firearms were prohibited from state grounds unless if it's the property of the state. As of HB 2231 and HB 2216, I support these bills because 1. HB 2216 makes the safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth a priority regardless of age, race, gender or disability and 2. HB2231 is an additional resource law enforcement can use in the communities they serve to ensure transparency and restore communication and trust.

Last Name: Edwards Locality: Buckingham

First, let me say that I'm very disappointed in the fact that, though I signed up to speak to deliver my testimony, I never received a Zoom invite to do so. In 1997 I fell in love with a single mom of two kids who lived in Camden, New Jersey, which at the time was the murder capitol of the United States. The many gun laws on the books in New Jersey served as an insurmountable barrier to legal gun ownership for a woman who was on public assistance, relied on public transportation, and was either a full time college student or a full time employee as well as raising two kids, but they sure didn’t do much to stop the guys who were actually shooting people in her neighborhood. The gunfire was so common that one night she fell asleep while we were on the phone talking, and just seconds after I clearly heard the sound of several rounds popping off through the receiver. I spent a sleepless night believing she was dead, only to hear her answer her work phone the next morning when I frantically called. When I expressed my amazement at her falling asleep, she laughed a hard laugh and said “this is Camden. Gunshots are like the sound of crickets where you live.” At the same time I was getting my first lesson in the futility of trying to ban and restrict (And therefore arrest) our way to safety, up in Boston police, researchers, and academics were engaged in a transformational shift in policing. By focusing on the small number of individuals who are the actual drivers and most likely victims of violent crime, methods that have now been largely adopted in Project Ceasefire and Project Exit, both law enforcement and community activists were able to reduce the juvenile homicide rate by more than 50%. Since then, these methods have been successfully deployed in dozens of cities. This is a nonpartisan, effective way of reducing violent crime. Of making streets safe for kids again. Of helping gang members escape the life before it kills them. And yes, of ensuring that those who insist on continuing to shoot wantonly and willfully into their community will face genuine and long lasting consequences. Regardless of your opinion on the need for New Jersey-style gun laws in Virginia, this bill is worth supporting. I happen to think HB 2231 will save far more lives than any new restriction on the right to keep and bear arms that has been passed by this committee, but whether you are a Democrat or a Republican; a gun control advocate or a staunch Second Amendment activist; HB 2231, deserve your vote in favor of passage.

End of Comments