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MCADSV Legislative Update - April 28, 2015
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Appropriations

Legislature passes 2016 state budget with MCADSV appropriations priorities included

MCADSV achieved its funding priorities in the final versions of all 2016 appropriations bills that were “truly agreed and finally passed” by the Missouri General Assembly on 4-23-15.

House Bill 8 - Department of Public Safety (DPS)
VOCA grants increased by $28 million in federal funding and federal STOP/SASP grants increased by $400,000  

Funding for victim services grants was significantly increased in the DPS budget:

  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $37 million in federal crime fines funding, an increase of $28 million from the current funding of $9 million
  • State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF) grants: $3.6 million in state crime conviction fines (decrease of $300,000 from current $3.9 million)   
  • Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) grants: $2.8 million federal funding ($400,000 funding increase)    
           o    Includes funding for Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants

House Bill 11 - Department of Social Services (DSS) budget
$500,000 state funding for SV services and $9 million state and federal total funding for DV shelter and services
 
Domestic violence services funding in the DSS budget totals $9 million, consistent with current levels:
  • State funding for domestic violence shelter and services: $4.75 million
  • Federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): $2.116 million
  • Federal Temporary to Assistance for Needy Families funding (TANF) for shelter and services: $1.6 million
  • Federal TANF funding for shelter services: $562,137

House Bill 10 - Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) budget
$50,000 reduction in federal RPE grant funding

The “Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness and Education Program” in the DHSS budget was reduced:
  • Federal funding of $792,134 for the Rape Prevention and Education grant program, a $50,000 reduction from current funding levels


UNPAID LEAVE FROM WORK FOR DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Compromise bill passed by Senate committee

Senate Bill 130    
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
SB 130, a bill to provide unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence, passed a Senate committee with only one vote in opposition on 4-23-15. The version of SB 130 passed by the committee was a compromise to address opposition from business groups. The Senate Committee Substitute for SB 130 includes unpaid leave for both domestic and sexual violence victims, narrowed the unpaid leave to only apply to an employee and not to a family member’s needs, and removed the private cause of action that would allow employees to sue an employer who fired them for seeking/taking unpaid leave. The bill is now on the Senate calendar for floor debate.


PROTECTION ORDERS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS
 
Senate unanimously passes sexual assault protection order bill that advances to House

Senate Bill 321  
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby  
MCADSV supports
SB 321 would allow sexual assault survivors with no family or household relationship to an offender to obtain a protection order. This change includes both Adult and Child Orders of Protection. SB 321 also would update the definition of sexual assault in protection order laws to include a lack of consent, to mirror changes in Missouri rape laws passed two years ago. A Senate floor amendment clarified the definition of stalking in the protection order statutes. The Senate unanimously passed SB 321 on 4-21-15 and the bill advanced to the House.


SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN

House committee amends bill to include sexual assault protection orders

Senate Bill 341  
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane 
MCADSV supports
SB 341, a bill to address juveniles with problem sexual behaviors against other children, was passed by a House committee on 4-22-15 with an amendment to add the sexual assault protection order content of SB 321. The original content of the bill would allow the Children’s Division to open a family-centered investigation of reports of sexual abuse of children committed by juveniles/children. Current law for the Children’s Division is not specific to investigations of sexual abuse against children committed by other children. SB 341 would allow the Division to investigate these reports using  a “family assessment and services approach.” SB 341 was earlier passed by the Senate.


TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) RESTRICTIONS 

Governor reviewing impact of TANF bill passed by Missouri General Assembly 

Senate Bill 24  
Sponsor: Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville 
MCADSV opposes
SB 24 was passed by the Missouri General Assembly on 4-16-15. The bill, although less harmful in its final version than originally proposed, still will reduce lifetime eligibility for TANF benefits by 15 months—from 60 months to 45 months. SB 24 also cuts TANF public assistance benefits to children if their parents are not in compliance with TANF work requirements, a “full-family sanction.” Several exemptions for victims of domestic violence are included in SB 24. MCADSV was a lead advocacy organization involved in the negotiations on SB 24 to change it from the bill’s original 22-month lifetime limit for TANF benefits.

SB 24, passed by a veto-proof margin of legislators, is on Governor Jay Nixon’s desk for review. The Governor must decide to either sign the bill into law or veto it. The Governor has stated that he is reviewing the bill with a focus on its impact on Missouri’s poor children and families. SB 24 has an effective date of January 1, 2016—the date that more than 9,000 TANF recipients, the majority of them children, will lose their benefits because of the reduction of time for poor Missourians to receive TANF.

Bill would limit cash withdraws on TANF electronic benefit cards to $40 each month

House Bill 977  
Sponsor: Rep. John Eggleston, R-Maysville   
MCADSV opposes
A House committee passed HB 977 on 4-27-15. The bill would cap at $40/month the amount of cash TANF recipients could withdraw via their electronic benefit cards. HB 977 also would not allow cash back from food purchases made with food stamps (the “SNAP” program). TANF, a cash-benefit public assistance program, is the only source of cash that recipients receive. It typically is used to pay rent, pay for transportation, purchase of children’s clothes at yard sales, use at laundromats, etc. Committee members passed a substitute for HB 977, which they lauded as a compromise. The original version of the bill prohibited any cash to be withdrawn on TANF benefit cards.


TRAFFICKING 

Bills advance to address human and child sex trafficking, and to create statewide Task Force

House Bill 152  
Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield  
MCADSV supports
HB 152 would expand the crime of sexual trafficking of a child to include advertising a child to participate in a commercial sexual act or a sexual performance and/or the production of sexually explicit material. The bill is on the Senate calendar for floor debate and was earlier unanimously passed by the House.

Senate Bill 211  
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis  
MCADSV supports
SB 211 would add victims of human trafficking to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. Safe at Home currently provides alternate address protection to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. SB 211 awaits a House committee hearing; it was passed by the Senate in March.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 26  
Sponsor Sen. Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles  
MCADSV supports
SCR 26 would create a statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. Members would be appointed by legislators and statewide office holders and would include various state department representatives, in addition to those providing services to trafficking victims.  To be finally passed and sent to the Governor, SCR 26 awaits a final House floor vote, having earlier been passed by a House committee and the Senate.

House Concurrent Resolution 38  
Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield  
MCADSV supports
HCR 38 also would establish a Human Trafficking Task Force. It was unanimously passed by the Senate House on 4-23-15, with a Senate committee amendment to have it mirror SCR 26. Because of that change, the bill must return to the House for a final vote in order to be finally passed and sent to the Governor.


BULLYING 

Senate passes House bill with MCADSV-supported amendments

House Bill 458  
Sponsor: Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis  
MCADSV supports
HB 458 would expand current laws to address bullying in schools. The bill would add “cyber bullying” to policy requirements for school districts and would establish reporting and documentation procedures for incidents of bullying in schools. The Senate version of HB 458 includes an amendment sought by MCADSV that would require districts to include student-led responses to prevent and address bullying in school policies and practices. HB 458 passed the Senate on 4-27-15 and must return to the House for a final vote.


CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION

House and Senate pass bills to increase victims’ compensation amounts

Senate Bill 141  
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar  
MCADSV supports
SB 141 would increase, from $200 to $400 per week, the maximum amount of compensation paid through the Crime Victims’ Compensation program for death, personal injury, or loss of earnings or support to crime victims. The bill was unanimously passed by the Senate on 4-23-15 and now awaits a House committee hearing.

House Bill 209  
Sponsor: Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles 
MCADSV supports
HB 209 also would increase the amount of crime victims’ compensation paid to victims in the same amounts as SB 141. In addition to these increases in victims’ compensation, the House added provisions to allow funeral homes to make direct compensation claims and added mental health psychiatric-mental health clinical health nurse specialists and nurse practitioners to the list of professionals whose services to crime victims can be compensated through the Crime Victims’ Compensation program. HB 209  passed the House on 4-28-15 and will advance to the Senate.


EXPERT WITNESSES 

House committee amends bill to retain current expert witness standards in family/juvenile cases

House Bill 697  
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City  
MCADSV opposes
HB 697 would change the standards in Missouri law for those designated as expert witnesses to testify in court proceedings. The bill was amended by a House committee to exempt family and juvenile court cases from the new standard for expert witnesses. MCADSV testified in opposition to the bill because of the impact in family law cases where domestic and sexual violence advocates are able to be certified as experts under current law. The changes proposed in HB 697 would align with a federal standard that has the potential to increase challenges to a person’s qualifications as an expert. The bill is intended to address issues of complex science, medicine, product liability and other cases. HB 697 is on the calendar for House floor debate.

Senate Bill 233

Sponsor: Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City  
MCADSV opposes
The Senate version of legislation to change the law on expert witnesses, SB 233, was debated and filibustered in the Senate on 3-10-15. Senators continue to negotiate a compromise bill.


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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
To view copies of bills, go to the Missouri General Assembly website at www.moga.mo.gov. The site has been changed for the 2015 session. To review or find a bill, select “Legislation,” click on “House Bills” or “Senate Bills” for a listing of filed bills. To find a specific bill, you also may select the “Bill Search” on the menu bar to search by bill number.


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/