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MCADSV Legislative Update - February 28, 2021
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MCADSV members advocate virtually on priority legislation

MCADSV member agencies met virtually with legislators every week in February as part of our month-long Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days. During those meetings they discussed the innovative ways through which they continue to meet the needs of survivors throughout the state despite the many challenges posed by COVID. MCADSV highlighted that work through an ongoing Twitter campaign: #NeverStoppedNeverClosed.

 

MCADSV’s MOmentum Webcast Series: 24th episode focuses on 2021 legislative priorities and virtual advocacy
This episode of the MOmentum series is now on our YouTube channel—it focuses on our public policy work and priorities for the year.
Tune in here: https://youtu.be/R4Jctd4ilmY

  
 
Appropriations

At the end of February, the House Budget Chairman Rep. Cody Smith filed the appropriations bills that comprise the state fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget. Earlier in the month, House and Senate appropriations committees held hearings for budget overview presentations by state departments. Those overviews were based on the FY22 state budget proposed by Gov. Mike Parson. As March begins, the House Appropriations Subcommittees will begin holding hearings on the appropriations bills filed by Rep. Smith.


Department of Social Services (DSS): Small increase in federal domestic violence funds; no change in VOCA funds
House Bill 11 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
The line-items for domestic violence and sexual assault services funding are detailed on pages 14-15 of HB 11. Those funds remain mostly unchanged except for: 1) a small increase in federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) funds (awarded via “DVSS” grants); and 2) a return to funding the “DVSS” and “SVSS” grants with state funds and not the current, one-time use of federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds for those grants.

  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) federal funding: $67 million, with $2 million designated for administrative uses (line items 11.205 and 11.210)
  • Domestic violence (DVSS) state and federal funding: $9.360 million, which includes a small increase in federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act funding from federal stimulus funding (line item 11.200)
  • Sexual assault (SVSS) state funding: $750,000, with no earmarks (line item 11.215)


Department of Public Safety (DPS): No change in funding for SSVF, STOP and SASP grants

House Bill 8 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
The line-items for victim services grants are detailed on page 4 of HB 8. There are no funding reductions in the DPS grant programs: State Services to Victims Fund and the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)  “STOP” and “SASP” grants. 

  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) state funding: $2 million (line item 8.035)
  • VAWA Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) federal funding: $3.294 million (line item 8.040)


Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness and Education Program 
House Bill 10 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
T
he line-item for prevention programming is detailed on page 31 of HB 10. This line-item is the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant program and is $792,134 (line item 10.720).

 


ACTIONS ON PRIORITY LEGISLATION

 

Orders of Protection

Senate committee passes bill that would specifically include pets in Orders of Protection
SCS Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Elaine Gannon, R-DeSoto) Senate Committee Substitute not yet available online
MCADSV supports
A Senate committee passed a Senate Committee Substitute for SB 71 on March 1. The bill would allow those seeking Orders of Protection to have the orders grant them legal possession 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 possession and control of pets. SB 71 also would allow the court to order payments to the petitioner for medical costs for a pet abused by the respondent.

House committees pass bill that would update “course of conduct” aspect of stalking definition for Order of Protection law
HCS House Bill 292 (Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
MCADSV supports
A House Committee Substitute for HB 292 passed two House committees in February. The current law defining stalking for protection orders includes “an unwanted course of conduct.” HCS HB 292 would expand this definition: “two or more acts that serve no legitimate purpose 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, or device.”

Powerful survivors' testimony during House committee hearing on bill that would allow judges to issue lifetime protection orders against unrelenting abusers
House Bill 744 (Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
Senate Bill 415 (Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston) 
MCADSV supports
During a Feb. 24 House committee hearing on HB 744, three survivors who suffered long-term domestic violence after they left their abusers provided powerful testimony about the need for lifetime protection orders. HB 744 would allow judges to issue lifetime Orders of Protection for adult victims. Committee members outlined several proposed amendments that would require findings of fact on several factors to allow judges to enter lifetime protection orders. A possible review process for the orders may be added.

The Senate version of the lifetime protection order bill, SB 415, was referred to a committee for a hearing; no hearing has yet been scheduled.

No opposition during hearing leads to committee passage of bill to add “coercive control” to cause to obtain a protection order
House Bill 427 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson)
MCADSV supports
A House committee passed HB 427 after a February hearing when no one spoke in opposition to the bill. HB 427 would add to protection order law an additional definition of abuse by including actions of “coercive control.” The bill also would add another element of abuse by including actions of “disturbing the peace” of a protection order petitioner. 

 

Tax Credits

Senate hearing held on tax credit program created for rape crisis centers, expanded for domestic violence shelters;
House hearing held on bill that makes changes to numerous tax credit programs
Senate Bill 155 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)
House Bill 1109 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold)
House Bill 1129 (Rep. Willard Haley, R-Eldon)
House Bill 1095 (Rep. Dick Deaton, R-Noel)
MCADSV supports
A Senate committee hearing was held Feb. 9 on SB 155. It would create: 1) a new rape crisis center tax credit with a 70% tax credit to donors; 2) a parallel 70% tax credit for donations to domestic violence shelters from the current 50% credit; and 3) the end of the current $2 million annual cap on the amount of these tax credits that can be awarded to donors (current annual total is $2 million for domestic violence shelters).

For a House committee hearing on HB 1095 on Feb. 25, MCADSV provided written testimony in support of amending HB 1095, an omnibus tax credit bill, to have it parallel the other House tax credit bills, HB 1109 and HB 1129, which are the same in content as SB 155. Currently, HB 1095 increases the domestic violence $2 million annual cap to $4 million. 

 

Sexual Assault

House and Senate committees pass bills that would criminalize sexual conduct with a prisoner or offender by a law enforcement officer
HCS House Bill 457 (Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin)
House Bill 770 (Rep. Jo Ann Doll, D-St. Louis)
HCS House Bill 876 (Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin) House Committee Substitute not yet available online
Senate Bill 60 (Sen. Brian Williams, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports the provision on sexual conduct in the course of public duty
A House Committee Substitute combining HB 457 and HB 770 passed on Feb. 3. HCS HBs 457 & 770 would create the criminal offense of “sexual conduct in the course of public duty” by a law enforcement officer with a detainee, prisoner or offender. That bill, as well as HB 897 and SB 60, would prohibit such sexual conduct by any on duty police officer, jailer, corrections staff or probation and parole officer. The penalty for the offense would be a class E felony. A House committee hearing was held on Feb. 17 on HB 897. SB 60 was passed as Senate Committee Substitute for SB 53 & 60.   

Bills filed to amend sections of 2020 law to establish a telehealth network for sexual assault forensic examinations
Senate Bill 550 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 1179 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove)
MCADSV supports
SB 550 amends current law, passed in 2020 to become effective in 2023, that establishes a telehealth network to ensure every Missouri hospital can provide a sexual assault survivor with a forensic evidence exam when requested. SB 550 would require the statewide coordinator for the telehealth network to regularly consult with Missouri-based stakeholders and clinicians regarding the training programs offered by the network, as well as the network’s implementation/operation. The bill also would allow flexibility in the forensic evidence collection trainings offered through the network or by other sources.

HB 1179 also amends the current law on the sexual assault telehealth network. It would clarify how trainings are developed and offered for sexual assault nurse examiners/medical providers through the telehealth network overseen by the Department of Health and Senior Services. The bill also clarifies the requirements for Missouri hospitals relative to the provision of sexual assault forensic examinations. 

Senate bill filed to make corrections to Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights law 
Senate Bill 463 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)
MCADSV supports
SB 463 was filed to correct and enhance certain sections of the 2020 Missouri law that created the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. The bill would: clarify definitions; extend survivors’ rights to have an advocate or support person present during all exams, interviews, system proceedings; confer all rights to a survivors’ guardian if they are incapacitated, disabled, incompetent, deceased, or a minor; allows adaptation of materials required to be provided to survivors that detail their rights; and requires prosecutors to provide survivors with information on registering in the Missouri Victim Automated Notification System (MOVANS) to receive automated notification of an offender's incarceration, court status, or the status of a protection order.

SB 463 also provides that the law enforcement official at the scene where the survivor was victimized shall, if requested, provide or arrange transportation for the survivor to a medical provider for a forensic examination, excluding any survivor who is incarcerated.

Additionally, SB 463 clarifies that survivors may obtain a free copy of law enforcement reports about the offense against them, but allows for redaction of personally identifying information from the reports. This act also adds that a prosecutor must give the sexual assault survivor information on the Missouri Victim Automated Notification System (MOVANS), or its successor program, which allows a survivor to register to receive automated notification of, including, but not limited to, an offender's incarceration, court status, or the status of a protection order.

  

Firearms

March hearing scheduled on bill that would restrict firearms from domestic violence offenders, protection order respondents
House Bill 473 (Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie)
House Bill 40 (Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City)
Senate Bill 144 (Sen. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
A March 1 House committee hearing was scheduled for HB 473; no hearings were scheduled on it or similar bills during February. HB 473 would replicate in state law the two domestic violence firearms prohibitions in current federal law: the prohibition of firearm possession by those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and those with full Orders of Protection in effect against them. HB 40 and SB 144 vary somewhat in structure, but each contain those two provisions. 

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.

  

Child Custody

House and Senate bills to establish rebuttable presumption for 50/50 shared parenting contain compromise DV exemptions;
Bills also would create tiers and limits for awards of spousal maintenance based on length of marriage

House Bill 299 (Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)
House Bill 947 (Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)

Senate Bill 199 (Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring)
Senate Bill 459 (Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville)
MCADSV monitoring
A Senate hearing was held on Feb. 24 on SB 199. It would create a rebuttable presumption in favor of 50/50 custody in all child custody cases. SB 199, and the three similar custody bills, contain the same language exempting domestic violence victims from the presumption in favor of 50/50 custody provisions.  MCADSV’s position on the bills is to monitor them without opposition, but will oppose the bill if the domestic violence protections are weakened or removed.

SB 199 and HB 947 also would establish a new, three-tier system for awards of spousal maintenance in divorce cases to limit the amount of maintenance awarded. The tiers are based on the length of the marriage. 

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 2021 bills. Should those protections be lessened or if harmful amendments are added to the bills, MCADSV will oppose the legislation.

 

Public Assistance

Senate committee passes bill that would increase penalties/denial of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for recipients not in compliance with work requirements
SCS Senate Bill 138 (Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville)
House Bill 217 (Rep. Chad Perkins, R-Bowling Green)
MCADSV opposes
A Senate Committee Substitute for SB 138 passed a Senate committee on Feb. 10. SCS SB 138 would increase penalties and loss of SNAP food assistance benefits for nonexempt adults who fail to meet 30-hour/week work requirements. The loss of SNAP benefits as penalty for work noncompliance increase from three months to six months to a lifetime loss of eligibility. A similar bill, HB 217, references federal law that exempts from the requirements the following: parents of children younger than 6; recipients of TANF or unemployment assistance; and incapacitated adults. No hearing has been held on HB 217.

No action on bill that would reduce Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits if children of household not in school for 90% of school days
House Bill 247 (Rep. Jeff Porter, R-Montgomery City)
MCADSV opposes
HB 427 has not been referred to committee. The bill would reduce TANF benefits by 65% for six months for families whose children did not attend school for 90% of the school days in the prior six months. The bill exempts excused absences from the calculation of school attendance. Missouri Family Support Division would be required to check school attendance every six months for families receiving TANF benefits.

No SNAP benefits without cooperation with Child Support Enforcement or good cause exemption
House Bill 451 (Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka)
HB 451 has not been referred to committee. The bill would require cooperation with Child Support Enforcement, or a good cause exemption, for an adult parent or non-custodial parent/caretaker, to be eligible for SNAP food assistance benefits. The occurrence of domestic violence is one of the good cause exemptions from child support cooperation that can be granted by the Missouri Division of Family Services. Victims are not always informed of this. 

 

Unpaid Leave

No action on bill would create unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence
Senate Bill 16 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
No hearing was scheduled on SB 16. The bill would provide unpaid leave for a domestic/sexual violence victim if their employer has at least 20 employees, and allows the leave for a range of needs, including medical attention, legal and/or victim services.

 

Local Nuisance Orders

No action on bill would prohibit “nuisance” ordinances from penalizing domestic and sexual violence victims’ calls for emergency assistance
House Bill 426 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson)
MCADSV supports
HB 426 has not been referred to committee. The bill would prohibit cities or counties from passing ordinances that would classify as “nuisance” any calls for law enforcement or emergency assistance by residents, tenants or landlords who are victims of abuse or crime. The bill would allow a civil suit to be filed against a unit of local government by a victim who was penalized under a nuisance ordinance for making calls for assistance. Previously, some local ordinances did allow eviction or other penalties for tenants who made repeated calls for law enforcement assistance, including violence victims, by including the calls in the definition of a local nuisance.

 

Crime Victims' Compensation

Bill filed that would clarify eligibility for family members’ counseling services after homicide/victims’ death
House Bill 1105 (Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City)
MCADSV supports
HB 1105 would clarify that survivors of a homicide or deceased crime victim are eligible for Crime Victims’ Compensation for counseling services, even if they do not reside in the same household. The new definition would be: "Survivor", the spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, sibling or child of the  deceased victim [of the victim's household] at the time of the crime.” The brackets delete the words in current law. 

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2021 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