|MCADSV Legislative Update - March 29, 2013
March Legislative Overview
The Missouri House of Representatives passed the state’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget with an increase of $1.9 million in federal domestic violence funds but rejected all efforts to increase federal funds for Medicaid expansion.
The Senate unanimously passed an MCADSV priority bill in late March to make corrections to technical errors in current domestic violence laws. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees each heard MCADSV testimony in support of priority bills to revise Missouri rape laws to add elements of a victim’s incapacity or incapability to consent. A Senate bill to allow unpaid leave for employees who are victims of domestic violence had a hearing where MCADSV members provided compelling testimony in support. Other Coalition members provided testimony in support of a measure to allow local governing bodies to increase city/county ordinance violation fees to support domestic violence shelters.
A House bill advanced that would enhance school anti-bullying policies. Bills to revise sex offender registry laws moved through House committees and hearings were held throughout the month on both House and Senate bills to revise and update the entire Missouri criminal code. Two survivors granted clemency testified in support of a House bill to expand probation and parole case reviews that could lead to clemency actions.
The House Budget Committee passed all of the appropriations bills for the state’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget on March 13. The full House passed those bills on March 28. The process proceeds to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will likely spend most of April to make its own changes to appropriations bills passed by the House. The budget bills then move to Senate floor debate. Differences between the state budget bills passed by the House and Senate must be reconciled, and a consensus Fiscal Year 2014 budget finally approved by each chamber by May 10.
Domestic violence funding increase passed by Missouri House
House Bill 11
Department of Social Services (DSS)
The Missouri House of Representatives passed a $1.9 million increase in federal funding for domestic violence services on March 28 in HB 11, the annual budget bill for DSS. Those federal dollars are drawn from the state’s block grant of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds. HB 11 provides state funding for domestic violence services of $4.75 million, federal funding of $3,716,524 (includes the increase), for a total of $8,466,524 in FY2014. This funding is detailed in line item 11.155 in HB 11. The House defeated all amendments to HB 11 that would have included federal Medicaid expansion funds, causing 53 House members to vote against the bill.
Reductions in crime fine collections reflected in SSVF and SAFE program budgets
House Bill 8
Department of Public Safety (DPS)
The majority of victim services grant programs retained current levels of funding in the appropriations bill for DPS that was passed by the House on March 28. HB 8 would maintain current funding levels for two grant programs in DPS: Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants at $7.5 million in federal funds; and Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) grants at $2.49 million in federal funds, which includes Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants. HB 8 does contain a $1 million reduction in authorization for the State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) grants due to decreased collection of criminal conviction fines that support the grant program. Another $1 million reduction for the Crime Victims Compensation Program, which includes the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program funding, reflects the lowered cost of the SAFE program since the 2012 imposition of regulatory caps on the amount that can be reimbursed per SAFE exam. DPS victim services grant programs are detailed in line items 8.030—8.045 in HB 8.
Rape Prevention and Education grant funding unchanged in DHSS budget recommendations
House Bill 10: Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
The House passed HB 10, the appropriations bill for DHSS on March 28 with no changes to the current level of $889,134 in federal funding for the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grants. This “Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness, and Education Program” includes a small amount of federal funding for sexual assault services grants. This funding is detailed in line item 10.165 in HB 10. The House defeated all amendments to HB 10 that would have included federal Medicaid expansion funds, causing 52 House members to vote against the bill.
Rape and Sexual Assault
House Bill 280 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
The House Judiciary Committee took no action on HB 280 after it held a hearing on the bill in late February. The bill would revise rape and sex offense laws, adding elements of incapability or incapacity to consent to the elements of felony rape and sodomy crimes, and would rename the crime of forcible rape to rape, first degree, and deviate sexual assault to sodomy, second degree. These crimes currently only have elements of forcible compulsion and drugging of the victim by the offender. MCADSV worked during March with committee members to build support for the bill’s passage and to gain their support to amend a larger criminal code bill (House Bill 210, detailed below) to include the provisions of HB 280.
Senate Bill 214 (Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City)
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 214, the Senate version of legislation to change Missouri rape laws, on March 11. MCADSV testimony sought the passage of the bill as well as committee support to amend the larger criminal code revisions bill, Senate Bill 253 (detailed below), to include the content of SB 214.
Sex Offender Registry
House Bill 462 (Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City)
The House Crime Prevention Committee passed a House Committee Substitute for HB 462 on March 26, allowing the bill to advance to debate by the full House. The bill would revise the sex offender registry laws. HB 462 would correct errors in current law that require inclusion on the registry of those convicted of non-sexual offenses and would establish three “tiers” of offenses which would allow those convicted of sexual offenses to petition the courts to be removed from the sex offender registry. Tier I offenders could petition the original convicting court to be removed from the registry after 10 years; Tier II offenders or Tier III offenders convicted as juveniles could not petition for registry removal for 25 years. Tier III offenders would not be allowed to petition for registry removal. No offender convicted of a sexual offense after a prior conviction would be eligible for registry removal.
A separate measure to change Missouri sex offender registry laws, House Bill 589 (Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair), also was passed by the House Crime Prevention Committee in March. It contains provisions that would take Missouri out of compliance with federal requirements for state sex offender registries.
Senate passes bill to make corrections to technical errors in current domestic violence laws
Senate Bill 222 (Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis)
SB 222 was unanimously passed by the Missouri Senate on March 28. SB 222 would correct errors in domestic violence laws that passed in a 2011 omnibus domestic violence bill. Truly technical in content, the bill 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.
House Bill 281 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
HB 281 is the House version of the domestic violence technical corrections bill. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill in early April.
Family intervention orders
House Bill 402 (Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal)
The House Children, Families and Disabilities Committee took no action during March on HB 402. The bill would allow a family or household member to get an order compelling another family member to get treatment for substance abuse, and then would provide a subsequent mandatory presumption for permanent custody of children in the family should the intervention order petitioner later file for separation or divorce. MCADSV’s opposition was based on numerous aspects of the bill, including its impact of adding family intervention orders, which do not include allegations of violence, in a chapter of law on domestic violence.
Bill would provide unpaid leave for employees who are victims of domestic violence
Senate Bill 367 (Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis)
SB 367 was heard by the Senate Seniors, Families and Pensions Committee on March 26. During the hearing, advocates with MCADSV member programs provided compelling testimony in support of the bill’s provisions to allow employers to provide domestic violence victims with unpaid leave from work. Modeled after an Illinois law, the bill would provide employees who are affected by domestic violence with a range of 8 to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to seek medical attention, recover from injury, obtain victim services, relocate and/or to seek legal assistance or participate in court proceedings. SB 367 would affect any person working for an employer with at least 15 employees. Such employees would be required to give 48 hours’ notice of the intent to take leave and could be required to provide documentation that such leave is necessary, which could include information from a domestic violence program, court or police records.
Municipal and County Ordinance Fees for Domestic Violence Shelters
Bills would allow local ordinance violation fee increases for domestic violence shelters
House Bill 251 (Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs)
The House Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities held a hearing on HB 251 on March 5. Advocates from MCADSV member programs testified in support of the bill. 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. A House Committee Substitute for HB 251 was offered during the hearing, which included corrections to errors in the original bill.
Senate Bill 313 (Sen. Paul LaVota, D-Kansas City)
SB 313 is expected to have an early April hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill also would allow for local governing bodies to increase ordinance violation fees, with funds allocated to support domestic violence shelters.
Criminal Code Revisions and Crimes
House and Senate Committees hold hearings on bills to update all Missouri crime laws
House Bill 210 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings that continued during March on HB 210, a bill that would revise all criminal offense laws, which were last updated as a full criminal code in the late 1970s. MCADSV testimony sought the committee’s support to amend HB 210 to include broader changes to rape and sexual assault crimes, as in House Bill 280 (Barnes), to add a victim’s incapacity or incapability to consent as elements of rape offenses. The full scope of HB 210 would remove current inconsistencies and conflicts in criminal laws. The most substantial change would make structural reclassifications for both felonies and misdemeanors, including domestic assaults, adding one additional class/category to both misdemeanor and felony crime penalties.
Senate Bill 253 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings throughout March on SB 253, the Senate bill to update all Missouri crime laws. Among the bill’s provisions are the technical corrections to domestic violence laws, as in SB222 (Lamping). SB 253 also adds domestic violence and stalking victims to current law that prohibits law enforcement from polygraphing a rape victim prior to initiating a crime investigation. MCADSV testimony sought the support of the committee to amend SB 253 to revise rape laws to include a victim’s incapacity or incapability to consent as elements of sexual violence crimes, as in SB 214 (Silvey). SB 253 contains more than 1,000 pages of changes to criminal laws and is more encompassing than the House version, HB 210 (Cox).
Crime victims’ restitution to be collected by prosecutors with fees charged
House Bill 214 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
No action was taken during March on HB 214, which was passed by the House Judiciary Committee in late February. The bill 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 would be collected to support the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services Fund. HB 214 would require that restitution fees be collected from both convicted and incarcerated persons.
House bill would revise child abuse reporting laws and forensic exams standards for child victims
House Bill 505 (Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-St. Louis)
The House Judiciary Committee passed a House Committee Substitute for HB 505 on March 13. The bill would require direct reports of child abuse or neglect by legally mandated child abuse reporters, changing current law that allows such reports by a supervisor of a mandatory reporter. The bill also would require that new regulatory provisions be created for the Department of Public Safety SAFE program for reimbursements and performance of sexual assault forensic evidence examinations of child victims who are under age 14.
School anti-bullying policies
Schools required to enhance anti-bullying policies and procedures
House Bill 134 (Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis)
A House Committee Substitute for HB 134 was passed by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on March 6, and then passed by the House Rules Committee on March 14. The bill is now on the calendar for House floor debate. HB 134 would require school districts to enhance policies and procedures on school bullying. HB 134 includes a new definition of “cyber-bullying” and adds requirements that those activities be addressed in school policies. The bill expands the definition of bullying to include “discrimination that causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property, substantial interference with educational opportunities, or substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.”
House Bill 477 (Rep. Judy Morgan, D-Kansas City)
Senate Bill 284 (Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis)
No action occurred in March on HB 477 or SB 284, bills that would add to requirements for school district anti-bullying policies and procedures specific, enumerated groups of targeted students to be protected from bullying. The enumeration language identifies these students as including: “…actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or a mental, physical, or sensory disability, or on the basis of association with an individual who falls into one of the protected categories.” No committee hearings have been scheduled for these bills.
Probation and Parole Board case reviews
Survivors granted clemency testify in support of bill to expand probation and parole case reviews
House Bill 419 (Rep. Penny Hubbard, D-St. Louis)
Two formerly incarcerated women granted clemency through the efforts of the Missouri Battered Women’s Clemency Coalition, Linda Branch and Shirley Lute, testified, with MCADSV, in support of HB 419 during a late February hearing before the House Urban Issues Committee. The bill, modeled on a 2007 law that allowed case reviews for domestic violence victims incarcerated with sentences that did not allow for parole, would extend case reviews by the Board of Probation and Parole to those first-time offenders with sentences of 15 to 50 years who have exhausted all appeals. HB 419 stipulates that the Board would make clemency recommendations to the Governor after case reviews. The bill includes provisions for case reviews of offenders with a history of domestic and sexual violence against them.
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.
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 House of Representatives 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.house.mo.gov/billtracking/maps/senate.pdf
• House maps: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/maps/house.pdf