|\MCADSV Legislative Update - April 30, 2014
Senate approves $2.5 million in new funding for domestic and sexual violence services in state budget for DSS and DPS grants
On April 29, the Senate voted to include more than $2.5 million in new funding for domestic and sexual violence services. This includes $500,000 in first-time state funding for sexual assault services and an additional $562,000 in federal funding for domestic violence services in House Bill 2011, the appropriations bill for the Department of Social Services (DSS). The same funding earlier had been passed by the House.
The Senate also approved a $1.5 million increase in federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds in the Department of Public Safety budget, House Bill 2008. The next steps are for a conference committee will meet to reconcile differences in the bills as passed by the House and Senate. All appropriations bills must be finalized by May 9. The state Fiscal Year 2014 begins July 1, 2014.
House Bill 2011—Department of Social Services
MCADSV got a floor amendment passed in the Senate on April 29 to protect the new sexual and domestic violence services funding in HB 2011 from a 2% reduction that earlier had been passed by a Senate committee.
Sexual violence services funding
HB 2011 contains $500,000 in state funding for a new sexual violence services grant program in DSS, modeled on the unit-of-service domestic violence contracts in DSS.
This funding program would allow programs to choose a range of services to be provided in their communities: hotline, crisis intervention, medical and court advocacy, counseling, case management and support groups. These funds are in line item 11.157 in HB 2011 for “services and programs to assist victims of sexual assault.”
Domestic violence services funding
House Bill 2008—Department of Public Safety
- New federal funding: HB 2011 includes $562,000 in additional federal funding for domestic violence services. This increase is from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds that can be used for domestic violence shelter and related support services for those living in poverty. These funds were included in a new line-item in HB 2011: 11.156.
- Existing state and federal funding: A total of $8,466,524 was approved for domestic violence services state and federal contracts in HB 2011: $4.75 million in state funds and $3.7 million in federal funds. These are included in line item 11.155 and are awarded by DSS through the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services (DVSS) contracts.
HB 2008 was passed by the Senate on April 29 with a floor amendment sought by MCADSV to include a $1.5 million increase for VOCA grants. HB 2008 contains funding for the following victim services grants:
- Federally funded grants:
- Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): $9.0 million, an increase of $1.5 million from current funding
- Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP): $2.49 million, which includes about $300,000 for the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants
- State crime fine-funded grant:
- State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF): $3.95 million
- New human trafficking training program for law enforcement: HB 2008 contains $100,000 in new federal funding for a training program on human trafficking for law enforcement officers.
House Bill 2010—Department of Health and Senior Services
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the same amount of federal funding as the House, $842,134, in HB 2010 for the “Sexual Violence Victim Services, Awareness and Education Program.” This contains funds for the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grants and a small amount for victim services allocated from a federal block grant. This amount is a $40,000 reduction from current funding. These funds are included in line item 10.720 in HB 2010.
Local ordinance violation fines for domestic violence shelters
Amendments made to House and Senate bills to allow local ordinance violation fine increases to support domestic violence shelters
House Bill 1238 (Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair)
Senate Bill 615 (Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield)
House and Senate committees in April approved amendments to bills that would allow local governing bodies to vote to increase criminal ordinance violation fines with those funds designated to support local domestic violence shelters. HB 1238 is on the Senate calendar for debate, having earlier passed the House. SB 615 was amended in a House committee and awaits House floor debate. The provisions in each bill would allow county or municipal governing bodies to vote to increase local fines “up to $4” per conviction for a local criminal ordinance violation, with those funds designated to fund local domestic violence shelters. Those fines, in place since 1991, are set at $2 in Missouri law, which must be changed to allow local governments to increase the fines. These provisions originally were in SB 636 (Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Kansas City).
Criminal code revisions and crimes
Bill to revise all state crime laws passed by General Assembly and sent to Governor Nixon
Senate Bill 491 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
House Bill 1371 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
SB 491 was passed by the House and Senate on April 24 and sent to Governor Jay Nixon for his decision on whether to sign the bill into law. The 600-page bill revises and removes inconsistencies in all Missouri crime laws—changes that have not been made to the full “criminal code” for decades. SB 491 made no significant changes to the offenses of domestic assault, sexual assault and stalking except for the addition of another level of felony and misdemeanor offenses—similar to the proposed new construction for all criminal offenses.
Senate amendment guts bill to allow unpaid leave from work for domestic violence victims
Senate Bill 712 (Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 1717 (Rep. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
In an April 1 Senate debate on SB 712, a bill to allow domestic violence victims unpaid leave from work to go to court, 22 Missouri Senators instead chose to protect employers’ rights to fire or discriminate against employees who took that unpaid leave. A devastating amendment to the bill deleted a section of SB 712 that would have made it illegal for businesses to fire, harass, discriminate or retaliate against employees who took time off due to domestic violence. It is not expected that SB 712 will proceed any further this legislative session. No action was taken on the House version of the unpaid leave bill, HB 1717, after a House committee hearing in March.
No progress on bill to expand crime of aggravated stalking to include victims in Safe at Home address confidentiality program
Senate Bill 710 (Sen. Gina Walsh-D, St. Louis)
SB 710 would add an element to the crime of aggravated stalking when a person purposely attempted or succeeded in gaining access to the address of a participant in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking. No action has been taken on SB 710 since a Senate hearing in March.
“Revenge pornography” bill fails to advance in House
House Bill 1203 (Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington)
A House bill to create the new crime of posting intimate images of another person without consent—“revenge pornography”—did not advance in April after earlier being passed by a House committee. HB 1203 defines revenge pornography as publically sharing sexually graphic images of another person without that person’s consent.
House bill to restrict out-of-state expenditures of TANF benefits advances in Senate
House Bill 1861 (Rep. Wanda Brown, R-Lincoln)
HB 1861, which requires TANF benefits to primarily be spent in Missouri, was passed by a Senate committee in April after passing the House in late March. The bill was amended in the House to include provisions sought by MCADSV: a due process procedure for notifying TANF recipients of the potential loss of those benefits if they spend TANF funds outside of Missouri for 60 days, prior to suspending those benefits if out-of-state expenditures continue for 90 days. MCADSV had testified about the need for this notice, noting the number of Missouri women on TANF who seek emergency domestic violence shelter out of state because Missouri shelters are full.
Senate committee passes bill to significantly decrease TANF benefits in Missouri
Senate Bill 736 (Senator David Sater, R-Cassville)
A Senate committee passed SB 736 at the end of April. The bill would establish a “full family sanction” that would immediately cut the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) public assistance benefits to children if the parent does not engage in required work activities (current sanctions only affect the parent’s TANF benefits). The bill would set a 24-month maximum life-time limit on receiving TANF. SB 736 also would only allow use of TANF benefit cards in Missouri and would not increase a family’s TANF benefit amount if another child is born to the family.
Termination of Parental Rights
Amended House and Senate bills advance that would terminate parental rights of drug-addicted mothers
Senate Bill 530 (Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff)
House Bill 1371 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia) now contains original House bill content:
House Bill 1492 (Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Oak Ridge)
Amendments were made in April to Senate and House bills that would speed the parental rights terminations of drug-addicted mothers. The changes to SB 530 and HB 1371 clarify that termination of parental rights of drug-addicted mothers would occur based on a series of actions that comprise a pattern of behavior. Earlier versions required only one of several actions to trigger termination of parental rights. Both bills now require that, within the prior three years, a mother had drugs in her system when she gave birth to a child, has a felony drug conviction, previously lost parental rights to a child, and previously failed to complete recommended treatment services by the Children's Division through a family centered services case.
MCADSV’s testimony on these bills has focused on the difficulties faced in obtaining substance abuse treatment by Missouri women and the implications of terminating the parental rights of addicted mothers who do not have access to treatment.
Civil court orders
Bills to create new ‘Family Intervention Orders’ stall in House
House Bill 1070, House Bill 2059 (Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal)
No progress occurred in April on HB 2059, a bill to create family intervention orders. A House committee approved the bill in March after earlier defeating a similar bill, HB 1070. Each of the bills would have created new civil court orders—Family Intervention Orders—to allow one spouse to get a court order compelling the other spouse to obtain treatment for substance abuse. Each of the measures contains provisions that would give Family Intervention Order petitioners child custody advantages and control of family assets. All of these new provisions are proposed for addition to existing domestic violence laws.
House omnibus sex offense bill would exempt juveniles from publically accessible sex offender registry and create new sexual exploitation crime
House Bill 1346 (Rep. Cathie Conway, R-St. Charles)
Originally a bill to create the crime of sexual exploitation of a person by a clergy member, HB 1346 was expanded and passed by a House committee as an omnibus sex offenses bill. Among the added provisions is the measure to remove from the public sex offender registry website the names of offenders convicted when they were younger than 18. The substitute bill also allows juvenile offenders to petition a court to be removed from the registry after five years if they do not re-offend and comply with all sentencing requirements. To be eligible to file the removal petition, the offender could have been no more than five years older than the victim of the offense for which they were convicted.
The sexual exploitation crime in HB 1346 was broadened from being specific to clergy. The bill would instead create the misdemeanor crime of sexual exploitation by a person of “higher authority” than the victim. The offense would be committed by a person who holds a position of “trust or authority,” who offers “instruction, counseling, advice, therapy, aid or comfort,” and engages in a “documented pattern of efforts to seduce the victim.” HB 1346 also now contains the new offense of “unlawful internet communication with a minor.”
To review copies of all bills, go to www.moga.mo.gov.
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:
• 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/