Report on National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit
Week of August 12 through August 16, 2013
Georgia World Congress Center
We are pleased to report that to you that Reform Sex Offender Laws Inc. in collaboration with Women Against Registry (W.A.R.) and Sex Offender Solutions and Education Network (SOSEN) was present for this very important gathering of legislators from all over the United States . RSOL was represented by Larry Neely and another person. W.A.R was represented by Vicki Henry. This was our first experience attending at a NCSL event so we certainly learned a great deal. This report is intended to let you know day by day what happened.
August 12th: This was set-up and orientation day for our joint delegation. The day consisted of getting registered, setting up the booth, and some preliminary networking in the halls of the Georgia World Congress Center .
August 13th: The exhibit hall officially opened at 10:00 o’clock in the morning. Almost immediately there was a swarm of people passing by our booth. The traffic was especially heavy because we had a good location which was in the third row of exhibitors. We engaged lawmakers, legislative staff, and various types of delegates from all over the country (and world) regarding the issues of public registration. One interesting comment came from the former Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands who stated he genuinely had no idea that the registry he had promoted was causing conflict for U.S. citizens. He then proceeded to collect every brochure at our booth, explaining he wanted to learn more about the subject and would also share this information with his colleagues. The overwhelming majority of the comments from them were positive. Most admitted that there are problems with registration but expressed that the issue is politically difficult for them to resolve.
August 14th: The second day of the summit was a bit different because they reversed the flow of traffic. Everyone entered on the opposite end of the building which meant that we were in the seventh row. Nonetheless, the experience was similar to the previous day. We continued to engage lawmakers, legislative staff, and other delegates. In fact, there were many visitors from foreign nations. We spoke with a number of people from Canada and as far away as Kenya. Lunch was provided to us at no cost. Larry managed to sit with several Republican lawmakers from New Mexico. This in and of itself was an amazing opportunity because we strengthened existing relationships.
August 15th: This was the final day for exhibitors and also proved to be the slowest for us. We had barely a trickle of traffic; nonetheless, we continued to speak with anyone that would listen. On that particular day Larry primarily spoke with other exhibitors who were delighted to see us there.
Conclusion: Overall, this experience exceeded all of our expectations. The NCSL conventions provide us with the opportunity to network and educate in a way that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for our organizations. We are hoping that the NCSL will become a regular event that we will attend in future years and we thank everyone that supported this project on such short notice.