As you remember, the new SORNA regulations were introduced over a year ago. NARSOL published this report and analysis at that time. . As a reminder, regulations are handled by the executive branch who are in charge of implementing the laws our government puts into place. The laws themselves must be changed by lawmakers, who introduce bills suggested by WE THE PEOPLE who elect them. The people have asked for these tough laws. The original, full act is here.
The regulations were open to public input for 60 days from date of publication with that window closing in mid-October, 2020. Many people submitted comments during that time. That was our opportunity to alert the executive branch to known issues. When the window closed, it was due to be implemented, and most other regulations already have been. However, the current administration put this one on hold for a year.
That year is up, and the regulations are moving forward. There is no more official public comment or public input period. The only action that can be taken is to contact the office of Merrick Garland, the attorney general, demanding that the proposed SORNA regulations not be signed.
If a million or more people did this, could it make a difference? Perhaps. But even with all the members and supporters from every advocacy group doing so, we aren’t going to hit one million. It would be our advice to focus instead on (1) electing lawmakers who will work to improve these types of laws (2) learning how to successfully work with those lawmakers for change and (3) talking to those you know about the waste and ineffectiveness of the registry.
If you do want to take action, here is the contact information. You can call the U. S. Department of Justice and leave a comment on the agency’s comment line at (202) 353-1555, send an online message to the agency at https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice, or mail a letter to Attorney General Garland at U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530-0001.
Be sure to specify that the regulations we oppose are published in the Federal Register on Aug. 13, 202, in Proposed Rulemaking, Docket No. OAG 157 (AG Order No. 4759–2020)
You may wish to mention one or more of these points, or think of one or two of your own.
- Proposed regulations would significantly harm almost 1 million U.S. families
- Proposed regulations are vague because they create requirements that registrants cannot meet such as registering up to 4 times a year
- Proposed regulations have a chilling effect on travel within U.S. that will harm family members in need as well as limit educational opportunities
- Proposed regulations violate state rights to determine registration procedures
- Proposed regulations have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights of registrants because they require disclosure of remote communications identifiers
Larry discussed this and related political issues on Registry Matters, an independent podcast, on October 30.
ACSOL held a Zoom meeting on November 1. An audio of that meeting is available here.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.