|MCADSV Legislative Update - February 28, 2013
February Legislative Overview
February was a month of increased activities by the Missouri General Assembly. House appropriations committees adopted changes to the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget proposed by Governor Jay Nixon, but notably maintained the Governor’s request to increase federal domestic violence funding by $1.9 million. The MCADSV priority bill to make technical corrections to domestic violence laws was unanimously passed by a Senate committee. A House committee held a hearing on another MCADSV priority bill to revise rape laws. A bill to allow unpaid leave for employees who are victims of domestic violence was filed and a measure to enhance school anti-bullying policies advanced. A hearing was held on a bill to revise sex offender registry laws and hearings were held throughout the month on a bill to revise and update the entire Missouri criminal code.
House Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood), introduced all Fiscal Year 2014 budget bills on February 14. Those bills were based on the budget proposed by Governor Jay Nixon. House appropriations committees held hearings throughout February on funding bills for each state department, and sent their committee recommendations for the state budget to the House Budget Committee on February 27. The House Budget Committee will hold hearings throughout March to further amend all appropriations bills. Those bills are expected to be passed and sent to the full House for floor debate by the end of March.
Domestic violence funding increase retained in House Appropriations Committee recommendations
House Bill 11
Department of Social Services (DSS)
The House Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services on February 21 voted to include a $1.9 million increase in federal funding for domestic violence services in its recommendations for funding of the DSS in HB 11. These 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 at $4.75 million, federal funding of $3,716,524 (includes the increase), for a total of $8,466,524 for FY2014. This funding is detailed in line item 11.155 in HB 11. The committee did not recommend that HB 11 include federal Medicaid expansion funds.
Reductions in crime fine collections reflected in SSVF and SAFE program budgets
House Bill 8
Department of Public Safety (DPS)
In funding recommendations approved on February 19 by the House Appropriations Committee for Public Safety and Corrections, 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 Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services on February 21 made no changes to current federal funding for the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grants at $889,134 in its funding recommendations for HB 10. 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.
Rape and Sexual Assault
House Bill 280 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 280 on February 20. 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. These crimes currently only have elements of forcible compulsion and drugging of the victim by the offender. Substantial discussion was held during the hearing, with committee members’ queries allowing for MCADSV testimony on the history and context of laws on sexual violence and their impact on rape victims. HB 280 would rename the crime of forcible rape to rape, first degree, and deviate sexual assault to sodomy, second degree.
Senate Bill 214 (Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City)
SB 214, the Senate version of legislation to change Missouri rape laws, was referred on February 12 to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing. No hearing has been scheduled.
Sex Offender Registry
House Bill 462 (Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City)
The House Crime Prevention Committee on February 25 held a hearing on HB 462. 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.
Bills would 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 a Senate committee on February 26. The bill next proceeds to full Senate floor debate. SB 222 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.
House Bill 281 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
HB 281 is the House version of the domestic violence technical corrections bill. It has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and awaits a hearing.
Family intervention orders
House Bill 402 (Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal)
The House Children, Families and Disabilities Committee held a two-hour hearing on HB 402 on February 19. MCADSV testified in opposition to the bill, as did a Catholic Charities representative. HB 402 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 testimony focused on the bill’s impact of adding family intervention orders, which do not include allegations of violence, in a chapter of law on domestic violence. Additionally, MCADSV raised concerns about provisions of the bill that would allow the court to order a petitioner, seeking help for a spouse, into treatment her/himself—for co-dependency—with consequent potential loss of child custody for the petitioner.
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 filed on February 25. Modeled after an Illinois law, the bill would provide employees who are affected by domestic violence with up 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 municipal and county ordinance violation fee increase for domestic violence shelters
House Bill 251 (Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs)
HB 251 awaits a hearing before the House Committee on Children, Families and Disabilities. The bill 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. 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.
Senate Bill 313 (Sen. Paul LaVota, D-Kansas City)
SB 313 was filed on February 13, and 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
Measure would update all Missouri crime laws
House Bill 210 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings throughout February on HB 210, a measure that would revise all criminal offense laws, which were last updated as a full criminal code in the late 1970s. 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 in HB 210. 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.
Senate Bill 253 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
SB 253 was filed on February 2, and contains many of the changes to Missouri crime laws that were recommended during 2012 hearings by the Joint Interim Committee on the Criminal Code. Among these provisions are the technical corrections to domestic violence laws (as in separate MCADSV-supported House and Senate bills). 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. SB 253 contains more than 1,000 pages of changes to criminal laws and is more encompassing than the House version, HB 210. The bill awaits a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Crime victims’ restitution to be collected by prosecutors with fees charged
House Bill 214 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
HB 214 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on February 27. 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.
School anti-bullying policies
Schools required to enhance anti-bullying policies and procedures
House Bill 134 (Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis)
HB 134 was passed by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on February 20. It 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)
HB 477 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.” HB 477 was introduced on February 6 and awaits referral to a committee for a hearing.
Senate Bill 284 (Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis)
SB 284 is similar to HB 477, and contains enumeration requirements for school anti-bullying policies and procedures. SB 285 was referred to the Senate Committee on Education on February 20. A committee hearing has not yet been scheduled.
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 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/