|MCADSV Legislative Update - January 31, 2013
Overview of the 2013 session of the Missouri General Assembly
The 2013 legislative session of the Missouri General Assembly began on January 9 and will conclude on May 17, 2013. MCADSV’s 2013 priorities include legislation to: revise rape and sexual assault laws to include elements of the crimes based on a victim’s incapacity to consent or lack of consent; correct technical errors in existing domestic violence laws; and allow increases to locally collected fees to support domestic violence shelters.
Governor Jay Nixon received a bipartisan standing ovation during his January 28 State of the State speech when he spoke forcefully and poignantly about the obligation to ensure that “courageous” battered women and their children are not turned away from shelters and services that are full. The Governor then announced his proposal for a $1.9 million increase in federal domestic violence services funding in the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget.
There are 55 new members who were elected to the 163-member House of Representatives, with 110 Republican members and 53 Democrats. The 34-member Senate has nine newly elected members, and is comprised of 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Republicans hold super-majorities in both the Missouri House and Senate.
The Missouri appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2014 began when Governor Jay Nixon released his proposed state budget on 1-28-13. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) will subsequently introduce budget bills for each state department. House appropriations committees, specific to each department, will hold hearings and approve bills which are then passed on to the House Budget Committee. Upon passage by the House Budget Committee, appropriations bills are debated and passed by the full House. Appropriations bills then proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee and from there to the full Senate for debate and passage. Differences between the appropriations bills passed by the House and Senate are reconciled by a Conference Committee comprised of members of each chamber. Final appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2014 then must be passed in the exact form by both the House and Senate by May 10, 2013.
Department of Social Services (DSS)—bill not yet filed
Governor Nixon recommended $1.9 million in increased federal funding for domestic violence shelter and related assistance services contracts in the Department of Social Services, Family Support Division budget. The total FY14 funding proposed by the Governor for domestic violence services is $8,466,524. The current funding level is $6.5 million, of which $4.75 million is state funding. The increased funding would be primarily from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds.
Department of Public Safety (DPS)—bill not yet filed
Specific line-item details for victim services grants were not contained in the proposed state budget presented by Governor Nixon. Once these details are released, MCADSV will send members the funding specifics for domestic and sexual violence grant programs: Victims of Crime Act (VOCA); Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP); Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP); State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF). Also included in the DPS budget is funding for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program.
Rape and Sexual Assault
MCADSV priority bills would update rape laws and strengthen provisions on lack of consent
House Bill 280 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
Senate Bill 214 (Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City)
HB 280 and SB 214 would each revise rape/sodomy laws to include elements of the crime based on a victim’s lack of consent or incapacity to consent. The parallel bills would: amend the definitions of consent and incapacitated; delete current law termed “Mistake as to Incapacity;” rename Forcible Rape to Rape First Degree and add provisions for lack of consent and/or incapacity; rename Sexual Assault to Rape Second Degree; rename Forcible Sodomy to Sodomy First Degree and add provisions for lack of consent and/or incapacity; rename Deviate Sexual Assault to Sodomy Second Degree; rename Sexual Misconduct Second Degree to Sexual Misconduct First Degree; and rename Sexual Misconduct Third Degree to Sexual Misconduct Second Degree. Both bills await referral to committees for hearings.
Bills would make technical corrections to errors in current domestic violence laws
Senate Bill 222 (Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis)
House Bill 281 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
Both SB 222 and HB 281 would correct technical errors in domestic violence laws that passed in a 2011 omnibus domestic violence bill. Truly technical in content, the bills would replace some remaining references to “abuse” with the more inclusive definition of “domestic violence,” clarify requirements for immediate service of ex parte and full protection orders, and correct some references where “adult” should be “person” and “petitioner” should be “victim” for orders involving children and teens. SB 222 and HB 281 await referral to committees for hearings.
Municipal and County Ordinance Fees for Domestic Violence Shelters
Bill would allow municipal and county ordinance violation fee increase for domestic violence shelters
House Bill 251 (Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs)
HB 251 would allow municipalities and county governing bodies to pass ordinances to raise current ordinance violation fees from $2 to $4 with those funds designated to support local domestic violence shelters. The fees, established in 1991 in Section 488.607 RSMo, have not been increased for more than 10 years and are currently set at $2 per violation of a local ordinance. HB 251 will be amended as a Committee Substitute to correct errors in its initial drafting. It awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Criminal Code Revisions and Crimes
Measure would update all Missouri crime laws
House Bill 210 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
HB 210 would revise all criminal offense laws, which were last updated as a full criminal code in the late 1970s. A parallel Senate bill soon will be filed by Sen. Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City). MCADSV participated in the six weeks of interim hearings on the criminal code revisions in the fall of 2012. HB 210 would remove inconsistencies and conflicts in criminal laws. The most substantial change would make structural reclassifications for both felonies and misdemeanors, adding one additional class/category to both misdemeanor and felony crime penalties. Domestic violence laws are largely unchanged. Changes to the structure of rape and sexual assault offenses are supported by MCADSV and comprise the framework sought in separate sexual assault crime bills: HB 280 and SB 214. HB 210 awaits referral to a committee.
Crime victims’ restitution to be collected by prosecutors with fees charged
House Bill 214 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
HB 214 would require restitution to be paid through the office of the prosecuting or circuit attorney and allow administrative fees of $25 to $75 to be collected, with an additional fee of 10 percent of the total restitution for an amount of $250 or more. An additional $2 could be charged for installment payments. A separate and additional $5 fee could be collected to support the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services Fund. These fees would be allowed to be collected from convicted and incarcerated persons. HB 214 awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
School-based prevention programs and anti-bullying policies
Dating and sexual violence prevention and education curricula promoted for middle and high schools
Senate Bill 200 (Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis)
SB 200 would allow middle and high schools to implement a curriculum on domestic and sexual violence prevention. MCADSV worked with the Senator on a similar 2011 bill, using language from a California law for school-based prevention education. SB 200 awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
House Bill 261 (Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Florissant)
HB 261 also would allow middle and high schools to implement a curriculum about dating abuse. MCADSV will seek amendments to broaden the language to encompass prevention curricula for a range of domestic and sexual violence. The bill awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Schools required to enhance anti-bullying policies
House Bill 134 (Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis)
HB 134 would require school districts to enhance policies and procedures on school bullying. MCADSV supports adding “enumeration” amendments that specify categories or groups of students who are targeted for bullying motivated by their inclusion (or perception of inclusion) in those groups. The language in past sessions’ bills enumerate these groups as “race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, intellectual ability, physical appearance, or a mental, physical or sensory disability or disorder; or on the basis of association with others identified by these categories.” HB 134 awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Time limits removed for civil suits and criminal prosecution for childhood sexual abuse crimes
House Bill 247 (Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City)
HB 247 would remove the statute of limitations for civil actions to recover damages for child abuse and sexual offenses. Current law requires such civil actions to be filed within 10 years of the person being 21 or within three years after the person abused as a child discovered their illness or injury was related to childhood sexual abuse. HB 247 also allows criminal prosecutions for child rape or sexual abuse to be commenced at any time, changing the current criminal statute of limitations of 30 years after the victim is 18. The bill awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Sex trafficking task force to focus on youth
House Bill 266 (Rep. Rochelle Walton Gray, D-Florissant)
MCADSV will seek the inclusion of representation of domestic and sexual violence advocates in the provisions of HB 266. The bill would establish the Task Force on Alternative Confinement for Victims of Human Sex Trafficking within the Department of Public Safety. The task force would develop a statewide plan for alternative confinement programs, including safe shelter and support services, for persons under 18 who are arrested for prostitution and who would be considered under federal law to be victims of human sex trafficking. As filed, HB 266 does not include any Task Force members drawn from organizations that provide domestic and sexual violence services. The bill awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Tax credit programs for child advocacy centers, food pantries would be restored
Senate and House bills to restore expired “benevolent” tax credit programs advanced in January. Senate Bills 20, 15 & 19 (Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield) and its companion bill, House Bill 87 (Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield) would restore three tax credit programs that expired: food banks/pantries; children in crisis/child advocacy centers; and pregnancy resource centers. The bills do not affect the domestic violence shelter tax credit program.
Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Discrimination
Measure would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
Senate Bill 96 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
SB 96 would prohibit discrimination based upon a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Such discrimination includes unlawful housing practices, denial of loans or other financial assistance, denial of membership into an organization relating to the selling or renting of dwellings, unlawful employment practices, and denial of the right to use public accommodations. SB 96 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing.
Pilot program would support children’s visitation with incarcerated parents
House Bill 166 (Rep. Penny Hubbard, D-St. Louis)
HB 166 would create a two-year pilot program with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social Services to provide transportation to allow increased visitation by children of incarcerated parents. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Urban Issues for a hearing.
Other legislation of interest
MCADSV monitors bills not listed above. Those bills will be included in future issues of the MCADSV Legislative Update should they include provisions of interest to MCADSV’s membership. This includes legislation on proposed Medicaid expansion, weapons and public assistance programs, among others.
Access to information on legislation and lawmakers
Information on legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly is available on the website of the Missouri General Assembly, www.moga.mo.gov, That website also provides access to copies of all bills filed, and provides detailed information on lawmaker’s actions on bills as they proceed through the legislative process.
Specific bill search
Please note that revisions to the General Assembly’s website no longer allow live links directly to each bill, so navigating to specific bills requires a few steps:
To review copies of all bills, go to www.moga.mo.gov.
• Select “Joint Information” from the left-side menu bar, then “Joint Bill Information.” Enter the bill number in the search field.
Legislator information by district map
The following links from the website of the Missouri Secretary of State’s office detail district maps for the Missouri General Assembly. There also are statewide maps and detailed maps for the urban districts. The maps provide a quick, visually-accessible alternative to looking up legislators by zip codes, which can be done via the General Assembly website. Missouri Senate and House districts were redistricted in 2012.
• Senate maps: http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/maps/senate/
• House maps: http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/maps/house/