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MCADSV Legislative Update - April 30, 2020
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Legislators focus in April on coronavirus responses, state budget

Missouri’s state lawmakers focused in April on addressing the coronavirus public health emergency. The Missouri General Assembly met briefly in early April to increase the current state budget with new federal funds to address the coronavirus public health emergency; this included about $500,000 additional federal grant funds for domestic violence services. Legislators adjourned the legislative session until late April when they returned to the Capitol to work on passing a state budget with cuts of about $700 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Twice during April, Gov. Parson withheld state funds from the current state budget, cutting more than $200 million. No grant programs for victim services were affected by the governor’s withholding of funds or are among the legislature’s proposed cuts to the FY21 state budget.

Two measures supported by MCADSV were among the handful of bills legislators acted on during the few days they were in session during April: a multi-provision Senate bill to address sexual assault victims’ rights; and a Senate bill that would create a new tax credit program for rape crisis centers and also increase funds for the existing domestic violence shelter tax credit program. 
 
 
Appropriations

Federal coronavirus funds added to current Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) state budget: lawmakers pass $6.2 billion funding bill 
After a break, the Missouri Senate reconvened on April 6 and the House on April 7 to pass House Bill 2014, an appropriations bill to supplement the current state Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget. HB 2014 was amended to include additional funds recently passed in federal legislation to address the coronavirus pandemic. 
 
After another extended break, the House and Senate reconvened on April 27 to pass the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) state budget, with floor debate on the appropriations bills beginning in the House. There are reductions in state funding for each state department through substantial changes from the FY21 budget bills that were passed by the House Budget Committee in late March. Some additional federal funds were added to the state budget, although the April 23 Congressional passage of a $484 billion federal coronavirus aid bill did not include the funding relief to states sought by governors.

Federal domestic violence and housing funds added to current state budget

House Bill 2014 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
On April 8, legislators passed HB 2014, a $6.2 billion appropriations bill that supplements the current state FY20 budget with additional revenue that is primarily drawn from federal funds designated to address and respond to the coronavirus in Missouri. MCADSV continues to work with the Department of Social Services to have these funds distributed to service providers.

Among the funding increases was additional federal funding for the DSS for domestic violence services and for homeless services/emergency shelter:

  • Domestic violence funding through “DVSS” grants: $528,000 increase in federal funds through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) 
    HB 2014, line item 14.156
    These federal FVPSA funds are awarded through the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services grants (DVSS grants). These funds are to support services “to domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 crisis” that include emergency shelter, hotline services, crisis intervention, support groups, counseling, legal advocacy and assistance, children’s counseling, translation services, and case management services.
  • Emergency shelter/homeless assistance funding: $30 million increase in federal funds through the Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG)
    HB 2014, line item 14.151 
    These federal funds are to support services to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) funding for domestic and sexual violence services remains unchanged from current levels, unless noted below

On April 29, the House passed the FY21 budget bills with House Substitutes. The bills now await referral to the Senate Appropriations Committee and conference committees are anticipated next week before a final budget is sent to Gov. Parson on May 8. The FY21 begins July 1. 
The Missouri Constitution requires the legislature to pass a state budget by no later than early May each year.

HS HCS House Bill 2008: Department of Public Safety (DPS)
The DPS budget book contains additional program detail and past spending on the following: 

  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) grants: $2 million . This funding is in Section 8.035 of HS HCS HB 2008.
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants: $3.29 million. This funding, which supports Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) funding, is in Section 8.040 of HS HCS HB 2008. 
  • "Victims’ Compensation Programs:” $11.6 million. These funds support direct compensation to victims, the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) program, and the child abuse forensic exam fund. This funding is in Section 8.045 of HS HCS HB 2008. 
  • Rape Kit Testing: $1 million, federal funds. This is a New Decision Item (NDI) for the Crime Lab operated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. This funding is in Section 8.110 of HS HCS HB 2008. 
  • Witness Protection Program: This was a $1 million NDI that was eliminated in the House Substitute. It was in Section 8.050 of HCS HB 2008. 

HS HCS House Bill 2011: Department of Social Services (DSS)
The DSS Family Support Division budget book contains additional program detail and past spending on the following:

  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $65,035,217.  This is an increase of $1.3 million from current funding due to reallocating VOCA funds (the funds previously were included in line items for state-funded domestic and sexual violence grants; those funds were never awarded via DVSS and SVSS grants).  
  • VOCA administration: $2,001,191. This new designation for VOCA administrative-purposes funding is in Section 11.199 of HS HCS HB 2011. These funds are designated for DSS’ grant staff, information technology and contracts for training and technical assistance.
  • Domestic violence services grants (state and federal): $9,278,661. This is a decrease due to the transfer of $1.84 million VOCA dollars into the VOCA grant line-item (these are the funds that had previously been in this line item but were not awarded via DVSS grants).  The domestic violence funding is in Section 11.195 of the HS HCS HB 2011. 
  • Sexual assault services grants: $750,000. This is a decrease of $410,000--the amount of the FY20 funds designated for a specific program in St. Louis City and moves $160,000 VOCA dollars into the VOCA grant line-time (these are the funds that had previously been in this line item but were not awarded via SVSS grants). The sexual assault funding is in Section 11.195 of the HS HCS HB 2011. 

HS HCS House Bill 2010: Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
This DHSS budget bill and budget book do not provide specific line-item information on the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant program.  However, HS HCS HB 2010 details the funding as "Sexual Violence Services, Awareness and Education Program."

  • Rape, Prevention and Education (RPE) grants: $792, 134. This funding is Section 10.955 in HCS HB 2010. 

 


ACTION ON PRIORITY LEGISLATION

 

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence

Senate passes omnibus sexual assault bill 
Senate Substitute SCS Senate Bill 569 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)
House Bill 1815 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove)
MCADSV supports
On April 27, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Substitute for SCS SB 569, an omnibus sexual assault bill, after the Senate Fiscal Review Committee passed the bill on April 8. The original provisions of SB 569 that remain in the substitute would create a web-based rape kit tracking system, a statewide storage facility of unreported kits that would be kept for five years, and make all records in the tracking system confidential. The other bills that were added to the Senate Substitute bill include:

  • SCS SB 812 (Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville): the “sexual assault survivors' bill of rights” bill that would create new legal rights for survivors (advocacy, info, etc.) and creates a sexual assault task force;
  • SB 951 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis): the “justice for survivors” bill that would set up a statewide sexual assault forensic exam telehealth system for hospitals by July 1, 2022. 

SB 569 would enhance systems for sexual assault forensic evidence:

  • A secure, web-based system would be established for tracking sexual assault offense forensic evidence collected as a “rape kit.” The tracking system would allow sexual assault victims/their designees to track, obtain reports, and receive updates on the status and location of their kits and be notified of any updates.
  • All professionals involved in the system of collection and disposition of sexual assault forensic evidence would be required to participate in the tracking system.
  • A state-operated centralized storage repository would be established for unreported rape kits and timeline for storage of unreported kits.
  • The bills would make all records entered into the electronic tracking system confidential and not subject to disclosure.

Content parallel to the original version of SB 569 is in HB 1815, which has not had a committee hearing in the House.  

 

Tax Credits

Senate adds new tax credit program for rape crisis centers to omnibus taxation bill
SS Senate Bill 704 (Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg) Senate Substitute not yet available online
SCS Senate Bill 958 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)Senate Committee Substitute not yet available online
Senate Substitute #2 SCS Senate Bill 648 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester) Senate Substitute not yet available online
House Bill 2349 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold)
MCADSV supports
On April 29, the Senate passed a Senate Substitute for SB 704, a multi-provision taxation bill that includes provisions to expand the domestic violence tax credit program and create a new tax credit program for rape crisis centers. 

The Senate amended SB 704 to include the domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center tax credit programs. That substitute bill would, after July 1, 2021: 1) increase the tax credit for donations to domestic violence shelters to 70% from the current 50% credit; 2) create a new rape crisis center tax credit that also would provide a 70% tax credit to donors; and 3) increase to $4 million (from the current $2 million) the statewide total of how much could annually be awarded in tax credits via these two tax credit programs. The bill also will allow domestic violence shelter tax credits for donations to the one government-run Missouri domestic violence shelter (Weinman shelter, St. Louis County). SB 704 will advance to the House for further action.  

It is likely that the Senate passage of SB 704 will end any further action on similar domestic violence and rape crisis center tax credit bills. This includes SB 648, HB 2349, and SCS 958. 

 

NO FURTHER ACTION ANTICIPATED ON REMAINING PRIORITY LEGISLATION

 

Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence

No hearings scheduled on bills to establish statewide telehealth network to increase access to sexual assault forensic exams 
Senate Bill 951 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 2582 (Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee's Summit) 

MCADSV supports
No hearings have been scheduled for HB 2582 and SB 951. They are parallel bills. The bills are titled the "Justice for Survivors Act" and would establish, by July 1, 2022, a statewide telehealth network for sexual assault forensic examinations. SB 951 was amended to SS SCS 569 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester) on the Senate floor in March. 

 

Sexual Assault

No action on bills that would establish Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights and Task Force on Sexual Assault
SCS Senate Bill 812 (Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville) 
House Bill  2554 (Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus)
House Bill 2595 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold)
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on these bills. These bills are part of a state-by-state campaign sought by a national survivors’ organization, RISE. The bills have two main components that would create: 1) a sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights; and 2) a "Missouri Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault Task Force.” MCADSV continues to seek additional amendments to the bill, including changing from a Task Force set in state law to a time-limited Attorney General’s Task Force, as has previously been done for a range of topics. SB 812 was amended to SS SCS 569 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester) on the Senate floor in March. 

 

Insurance companies’ opposition dooms House bill to remove statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse civil suits 
HCS House Bill 1411 (Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph) 
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on HB 1411 after it was removed from the House debate calendar in March. Although the removal was due to parliamentary procedure “Rule 47,” Capitol discussions were that the bill was derailed by insurance companies’ opposition. HCS HB 1411 would have removed the statute of limitations for filing civil suits to recover damages for personal illness or injury resulting from childhood sexual abuse. Current law has a 10-year statute of limitations. 

 

Housing

Bill that would prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted due to local public nuisance ordinances stalls
HCS House Bill 1657 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson)
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on HCS HB 1657.  The bill would prohibit a landlord from using local “public nuisance” ordinances to evict a tenant who seeks assistance at the housing property from law enforcement or emergency services. Currently, in some municipalities, if a local ordinance includes contacting law enforcement as part of their public nuisance ordinance, then it is allowable to evict a victim of domestic violence who contacts law enforcement for help during a domestic assault.

 

Child Custody

Bills that would establish rebuttable presumption for 50/50 custody stall;  domestic violence exceptions maintained in House and Senate bills 
Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 531 (Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau) Senate Substitute not yet available online
HCS House Bill 1765 (Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau)

MCADSV monitoring
No action occurred in April on SB 531 and HB 1765. The bills would establish domestic violence as a primary cause to rebut the legal presumption, newly created in the bills, that it is in the best interest of children that judges award 50/50 equal parenting time to both parents in all custody cases. The standard for rebutting this presumption is a “preponderance of evidence” that includes the occurrence of domestic violence by one parent against the other. 

MCADSV advocacy message on 50/50 custody bills
For many years MCADSV has advocated in opposition to 50/50 custody bills, informing legislators of the impact of abusers’ use of custody and visitation to continue their abuse against a divorcing parent who is a victim of domestic violence. MCADSV advocacy led to the inclusion of protections for abuse victims in the 2020 bills. Should those protections be lessened or if harmful amendments are added to the bills, MCADSV will oppose the legislation.

 

Orders of Protection

Bill that would clarify the stalking definition in Orders of Protection stalls after House committee hearing
House Bill 1341 
(Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April after a House committee hearing was held in February. The bill would revise and clarify the definition of stalking in Order of Protection law in Chapter 455 RSMo (the bill would not change the definition of the criminal offense of stalking). The sections below show the bill’s proposed new language in bold and current law to be changed in [brackets]:

  • “Stalking" is when any person purposely engages in [an unwanted] a course of conduct [that causes alarm to another] directed at a specific person[, or a person who resides together in the same household with the person seeking the order of protection when it is reasonable in that person's situation to have been alarmed by the conduct] and knows or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.
  • "Course of conduct" means [a pattern of conduct composed of] two or more acts [over a period of time, however short, that serves no legitimate purpose. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to, following the other person or unwanted communication or unwanted contact] including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through a third party follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person by any action, method, device, or means or the stalker interferes with a person's property;
  • "Emotional distress", means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

No hearings scheduled for bills to include pets in Orders of Protection
House Bill 2626 (Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph)
Senate Bill 959 (Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis) 
MCADSV supports
No hearings have been scheduled for HB 2626 and SB 959. The identical bills would allow those seeking Orders of Protection to have the orders grant them legal custody and protection of their pets from the person who has harmed them. All adult and child Ex Parte and Full Orders of Protection would include specific provisions in the orders allowing a judge to grant a petitioner custody and control of pets. The bills would allow the court to order payments to the petitioner for medical costs for a pet abused by the respondent.

 

Vital Records

House bill that would waive costs for copies of birth certificates for domestic violence victims and homeless youth awaits House floor action
HCS House Bills 1300 & 1286 (Rep. Chris Dinkins, R-Annapolis)
House Bill 1286 (Rep. Patricia Pike, R-Adrian)
House Bill 1579 (Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee's Summit)
SCS Senate Bill 826 (Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin)
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on HCS HBs 1300 & 1286 as it awaits House floor action. The bill would provide a one-time waiver of the cost for a birth certificate for domestic violence victims and homeless youth. Two additional bills are similar but both HB 1579 and SCS SB 826 only provide the cost waivers for homeless youth.

 

Firearms

No action on bills that would prohibit firearm possession by domestic violence/stalking offenders and protection order respondents 
House Bill 2131 (Rep. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 2724 (Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis) 

Senate Bill 563 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
No hearings have been scheduled for HB 2131, HB 2724 or SB 563. These identical bills would prohibit firearm possession by those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, offenders convicted of second degree stalking, and respondents to Full Orders of Protection. The bills also would require the Missouri State Highway Patrol to include these individuals in the FBI’s NICS database of those prohibited from firearm/ammunition possession and purchase. SB 563 and HB 2131 each would modify the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm by including those who are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or those who are respondents to a Full Order of Protection.

MCADSV advocacy message on firearm bills 
It is important to clarify MCADSV’s support for specific domestic violence firearms bills, which differ from other “red flag” gun bills and “extreme risk protection order” legislation. The domestic violence firearms bills are specifically focused on those who were judged by the courts and convicted or found to have harmed family members and intimate partners.

 

Public Assistance

House bill that would disallow cash withdrawals from TANF or SNAP benefit cards stalls after House committee hearing
House Bill 1708 (Rep. John Eggleston, R-Maysville)
MCADSV opposes
No action occurred in April on HB 1708 after a House committee hearing was held in February. The bill would prohibit public assistance and food stamp recipients from using their electronic benefit cards to obtain cash from their benefit accounts for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).



 

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2020 legislative session.

House bills: www.house.mo.gov  Home page menu, top right “legislation” field to find bills

Senate bills: www.senate.mo.gov Home page menu, top right “bill search” field to find bills

Current Missouri statutes: http://revisor.mo.gov/main/Home.aspx