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MCADSV Legislative Update - February 26, 2015
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Appropriations

House Bill 11—Department of Social Services (DSS) budget
In January, Governor Jay Nixon did not include state funding for sexual violence services in his proposed state budget for Fiscal Year 2016. In February, however, the Governor did release $500,000 of the first-time rape crisis services funds that he withheld from the current 2015 budget after Missouri received an unexpected influx of revenue from a court case. The Governor had cited budget constraints as the reason he had withheld the funding.

The House Budget Chairman has an amendment to HB 11 to include the $500,000 in funds for sexual violence services in the FY16 state budget. HB 11 is expected to be passed by the House Budget Committee the first week of March, and then proceed to debate by the full House.

Domestic violence services funding remains unchanged from current levels in HB 11:

•    State funding for domestic violence services: $4.75 million
•    Federal funding for domestic violence services: $3.7 million
•    Federal TANF funding for domestic violence shelters: $562,000


House Bill 8—Department of Public Safety (DPS) budget
Funding for crime victim services grants in HB 8, the FY16 budget for the Department of Public Safety, remains at current levels. There is an expected significant gain in funding for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants as a result of an increase passed in the federal budget. However, no information has been received yet from federal officials on the amount of VOCA funding Missouri will receive. That delay makes it likely that an increase in the VOCA line item in HB 8 may not occur until later in the Missouri appropriations process.

•    Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $9 million federal funding (without increase)
•    Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) grants: $2.4 million federal funding
          o    Includes funding for Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants
•    State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF) grants: $3.9 million in state crime conviction fines



TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) RESTRICTIONS

Senate Bill 24

Sponsor: Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville
MCADSV opposes
MCADSV, working in January and February with other advocacy and religious groups, was able to gain compromises that significantly reduced the negative impact of SB 24, a bill to make changes to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) public assistance program. During two days of Senate debate in early February, the bill was significantly amended and is less harmful than the original bill.

An amended, SB 24 would reduce lifetime eligibility for TANF from five to four years; the original bill set the lifetime limit at two years. The bill also would require face-to-face meetings for TANF applicants so the program requirements are explained, would create graduated cuts of benefits for non-compliance instead of the originally proposed immediate full-family sanctions, and would initiate a cash diversion program for those in need who agree to not sign up for ongoing TANF benefits. Several exemptions for victims of domestic violence were included in the Senate amendments to SB 24. MCADSV and other advocacy groups will continue to seek changes to the bill as it proceeds to hearings in the House.



UNPAID LEAVE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Senate Bill 130

Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
SB 130 would allow unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence to obtain legal assistance, gain medical care and attend court proceedings. MCADSV is working in collaboration on the bill with the National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis Section, the St. Louis Ending Violence Against Women Network (SLEVAWN—which includes MCADSV-member programs), and the Women’s Foundation of Kansas City to gain the support of Missouri employers who will testify that SB 130 will not be a burden on businesses. The sponsor of the bill will seek a committee hearing on SB 130 in early March.



TRAFFICKING

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. During an early February Senate committee hearing, a sex trafficking survivor and an advocate from a MCADSV-member sexual assault program provided powerful testimony in support of the bill. No vote has been taken yet by the committee on SB 211.

House Bill 368
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield
MCADSV supports
HB 368 also would add victims of human trafficking to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. The House Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held a hearing on the bill on February 18, but no vote has been taken yet by the committee.



FIREARMS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

House Bill 418  
Sponsor: Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis  
MCADSV supports
This bill would enact the federal domestic violence firearms prohibitions provisions in Missouri law—disallowing convicted misdemeanor domestic violence offenders and respondents to Full Orders of Protection from owning or possessing firearms. HB 418 also would allow law enforcement officers to confiscate firearms on the scene of a domestic violence call when they are visible and officers have probable cause. MCADSV has supported similar legislation in the past. No hearing has been scheduled on HB 418.

House Bill 492  
Sponsor: Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 492 also would allow law enforcement officers to remove firearms visible at the scene of a domestic violence call. HB 492 would include in the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm those with a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction and those with a Full Order of Protection entered against them. No hearing has been scheduled on HB 492.



STALKING

Senate Bill 212
 
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis  
MCADSV supports
This bill would add an element to the offense of stalking that a person sought the protected address and location of a person participating in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. SB 212 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing.



CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION

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 favorably received during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in early February.

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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/