|MCADSV Legislative Update - February 14, 2014
MCADSV advocates for sexual assault services funding in state budget
In testimony before House and Senate Appropriations Committees, MCADSV has asked for $500,000 in first-time state funding for sexual assault services funding. This proposal is for a new grant program in the Department of Social Services (DSS), modeled on the unit-of-service domestic violence contracts in DSS.
This grant design would allow programs to choose a range of services to be provided in their communities: hotline, crisis intervention, medical and legal advocacy, counseling, case management and support groups. This proposal is the focus for MCADSV members’ advocacy in their February meetings with lawmakers during MCADSV’s Capitol Advocacy Days.
House Budget Chairman files budget bills based on last year’s appropriations
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, filed all Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations bills on Feb. 6. Those bills are based on the current state budget and not on Governor Jay Nixon’s budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1. House and Senate budget leaders disagreed with the Governor’s state revenue estimates upon which his budget proposals were based. The appropriations committees will make their changes to the FY 2015 bills as the legislative process continues.
- House Bill 2011—Department of Social Services
HB 2011 includes current funding levels that total $8,466,524 in the line-item for domestic violence services state and federal contracts: $4.75 million state funding and $3.7 million in federal funds.
- House Bill 2008—Department of Public Safety
HB 2008 includes the following victim services grants:
- State crime fine-funded grant:
- State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF): $3.95 million
- Federally funded grants:
- Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP): $2.49 million, which includes about $300,000 for the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants;
- Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): $7.5 million.
- House Bill 2010—Department of Health and Senior Services
HB 2010 includes current federal funding of $882,134 for the “Sexual Violence Victim Services, Awareness and Education Program,” which contains funds for the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grants and a small amount for victim services allocated from a federal block grant.
Bills to allow unpaid leave from work for domestic and sexual violence victims
Senate Bill 712 (Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 1717 (Rep. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
SB 712 and HB 1717 each would allow victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to take unpaid leave from work to address issues related to their victimization. The bills would allow two weeks of unpaid leave to those whose employer has 50 or more employees. One week of unpaid leave would be allowed for a victim whose employer has at least 15 but fewer than 49 employees.
Bill would increase weekly compensation amount for crime victims’ lost wages
Senate Bill 792 (Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar)
SB 792 would increase to $400 per week the amount the Crime Victims' Compensation (CVC) fund can pay eligible victims for the loss of employment and for injury or death. The current weekly amount is $200. Also, SB 792 would allow the Department of Public Safety to negotiate directly with medical and other service providers on behalf of the victim with respect to the costs of the services for which CVC reimbursement is sought.
Local control over fee increases for domestic violence shelters
Senate Bill 636 (Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Kansas City)
SB 636 would allow municipal and county governing bodies to vote to increase to $4 the local fees assessed for convictions of ordinance violations with those funds designated to support local domestic violence shelters. The current fee amount is capped at $2, and must be changed in state law to allow city/county governing bodies to vote to increase it. The current $2 fee amount has not been increased for more than 10 years.
Civil court orders
Bill to create new ‘family intervention order’
House Bill 1070 (Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal)
HB 1070 would create new civil court Family Intervention Orders that would allow one spouse to gain an ex parte court order compelling the other spouse to obtain treatment for substance abuse, and which would then give the petitioner child custody advantages and control of family assets. All of these new provisions would have been added to state laws on domestic violence.
Latest action on this bill: The House Children, Families and Disabilities Committee voted “do not pass” for HB 1070 during an executive session of the committee on Feb. 4. MCADSV previously had testified against the bill in a committee hearing. With this vote, the committee affirmed MCADSV’s position that HB 1070 posed more problems than it addressed.
Bill to require police reports in order to obtain protection orders
House Bill 1274 (Rep. Kevin English, D-Florissant)
The bill would require a victim to file a police report to be eligible to seek an Order of Protection. The change to 455.020 RSMo in the bill was, “Such petition must be accompanied by a police report that details the incident that prompted the order of protection petition.”
Latest action on this bill: The sponsor of HB 1274 withdrew this bill due to the opposition of MCADSV and allied organizations. MCADSV commends Rep. English for recognizing the negative impact of HB 1274 and for taking the unusual step of withdrawing his own legislation.
Criminal code revisions and crimes
Bills would revise all state crime laws
Senate Bill 491 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
House Bill 1371 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
Both of these bills revise and remove inconsistencies in all Missouri crime laws—changes that have not been made to the full “criminal code” for decades. In both HB 1371 and SB 491 the laws are largely unchanged for the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking laws except for the addition of another level of felony and misdemeanor offenses—similar to the proposed new construction for all criminal offenses. MCADSV’s requested changes from have been incorporated into these bills.
Bill would add to the crime of aggravated stalking when offenders seeks address of victim 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 that 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.
Bills would create new crime of posting intimate images without consent—“revenge pornography”
House Bill 1203 (Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington)
MCADSV provided informational testimony before the House Crime Prevention Committee in a January hearing on HB 1203. The bill would create a new felony crime, “revenge pornography,” defined as publically sharing sexually graphic images of another person without that person’s consent. MCADSV’s suggested recommendations for amendments included limiting the felony crime to adults and creating a separate lesser crime/penalty for juveniles. MCADSV also suggested the committee consider expansion of the current crime of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation rather than creation of a new criminal offense.
House Bill 1334 (Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City)
HB 1334 would create a class B misdemeanor crime of revenge pornography. Repeat offenders or those who publically circulate images of juveniles would face a class A misdemeanor charge. The bill would establish a private cause of action as a civil court course of redress for damages to a victim of the crime of revenge pornography.
Bill to significantly decrease TANF benefits in Missouri
Senate Bill 736 (Senator David Sater, R-Cassville)
SB 736 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. SB 736 awaits a Senate committee hearing.
Sex offender registry
Bill would exempt convicted juveniles from publically accessible sex offender registry
House Bill 1561 (Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair)
HB 1561 would allow those convicted as juveniles for a non-violent sexual offense to petition the convicting court, two years after conviction, for their removal from the sex offender registry. Upon the bill’s passage, the public website for the sex offender registry would no longer include juveniles convicted of sex offenses—including felony sex crimes. MCADSV testified before a House committee with other organizations opposing this bill, including victims’ rights and child advocacy organizations. MCADSV opposed similar legislation in 2013, seeking a legal process that would allow some juveniles convicted of violent felony sex offenses to remain on a publically accessible registry.
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/