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MCADSV Legislative Update - January 30, 2017
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New President, new Governor and new legislative session
The 2017 session of the Missouri General Assembly began on Jan. 4 and will conclude on May 12. Gov. Eric Greitens was sworn into office on Jan. 9 for a four-year term.

This is a year of transition and change in our public policy and legislative efforts. But what does not change is the importance of MCADSV’s collective advocacy with Missouri’s elected leaders so they will address the opportunities and challenges of meeting the needs of survivors of sexual and domestic violence in our state.

We, as advocates for survivors, need to be leaders in having conversations that key in on the priorities, world views, personalities and life experiences of public policy makers. By developing a personal connection with your lawmakers, you are encouraging those who are in a position to make a difference on issues of domestic and sexual violence to do so. We need to tell the stories of survivors, programs that help them and community needs in the way that has meaning and relevance to legislators who were elected for public service and can accomplish important work (or at least, do no harm).

 

Federal update

MCADSV communications with Congressional delegation: No official federal budget proposals to eliminate funding for VAWA grant programs
Although no official federal budget proposals have been released by Pres. Donald J. Trump, in January MCADSV communicated with Missouri’s Congressional delegation to discuss our extreme concern with reports that the President was considering a budget proposal to eliminate funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant programs, as well as funding for the Legal Services Corporation and community-oriented policing programs.

Staff in the offices of Missouri’s Congressional delegation expressed ongoing support for the VAWA programs and added that the process of developing and passing a federal budget is long. MCADSV will continue to update members as the federal budget is proposed by the President and debated by the U.S. House and Senate.

Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days
Plan to connect with your legislators at Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days: February in Jefferson City
Join other MCADSV member programs as we advocate for continued support of domestic and sexual violence services and meet with legislators. RSVP for one or more of these days:

o   Tuesday, February 7

o   Tuesday, February 14

o   Wednesday, February 22

o   Tuesday, February 28

RSVP to Jennifer Carter Dochler, Public Policy Director, at jennc@mocadsv.org and indicate which date you will attend. She will provide additional information on how to schedule appointments.

If you cannot attend one of Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days in Jefferson City, please schedule in-district appointments with your legislators and let Jennifer know of the meetings.

 

Appropriations

Gov. Eric Greitens to release his proposed state FY18 budget in February: extensive cuts expected
Gov. Greitens’ proposed Fiscal Year 2018 state budget is expected to be released in February. The Governor has stated that he expects to propose a total of $700 million in cuts to Missouri’s budget during the next 18 months. This will include withholds of current budget funds as well as reductions in his proposed FY18 budget. In January, Gov. Greitens announced his withholding of $146 million in state funds from the current FY17 state budget. Those withheld funds did not include any funds for domestic and sexual violence grant programs.

Legislative budget committees began holding public hearings in January. MCADSV provided testimony on the importance of maintaining current state funding for grant programs in the Department of Social Services and the need to address chronic issues in the administration of grant programs in the Department of Public Safety.


Actions on priority legislation

Firearms

Domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents prohibited from possessing firearms
House Bill 766
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson
MCADSV supports

Senate Bill 318
Sponsor: Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports

House Bill 658
Sponsor: Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 766, SB 318 and HB 659 all would enact in Missouri law the current federal provisions in effect since 1997 that prohibit firearm possession by those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence and protection order respondents. Each of the three bills would give jurisdiction to Missouri law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts to hold domestic violence offenders accountable for the offense of unlawful possession of a weapon. HB 658 also includes provisions that would allow law enforcement officers to confiscate firearms found at the scene of a domestic violence call.

Child custody

Presumption for equal parenting time in all child custody cases
House Bill 724
Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau
MCADSV opposes
HB 724 would create a rebuttable presumption for judges to award equal parenting time in all custody cases unless “clear and convincing evidence” that such an award is not in the best interest of the child(ren) involved. This is a higher standard for evidence than current law and would be difficult for many domestic violence victims to meet. MCADSV opposed a related bill last year and will work with the sponsor to ensure HB 724 does not weaken current laws that provide protections for parents and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Sexual assault

Expanded eligibility for sexual assault victims to receive crime victims’ compensation
House Bill 396 
Sponsor: Rep. Sara Unsicker, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 396 would expand the ability of sexual offense victims to receive Crime Victims’ Compensation. It would allow victims to be eligible, under the requirement of notification of law enforcement or cooperation with prosecution, by: including police reports made up to 7 days after an assault; obtaining an Ex Parte or Full Order of Protection; and obtaining a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE) or related medical care. Current Missouri law, Section 595.055 RSMo, requires victims to notify law enforcement within 48 hours of an offense to be eligible for Crime Victims’ Compensation payment.

Tracking system required for sexual assault forensic evidence
House Bill 578
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson
MCADSV supports
HB 578, based on a New York law, would create a tracking system for sexual assault kits completed in a sexual assault forensic examination to allow victim notification and monitoring of where kits and related evidence is in the process. MCADSV is working with the sponsor to make the bill consistent with Missouri practices and needs.

Criminal offense created for “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images”
House Bill 706
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron
MCADSV supports
HB 706 would create the new class D felony offense of “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.” The bill would address what often is termed “revenge porn.” It would criminalize the dissemination of sexual images of a person who did not consent to the sharing of the image(s). HB 706 also contains the element of the offense that the sexual image was one that “a reasonable person” would know or understand was to remain private.

Orders of Protection

Child Orders of Protection could be issued for some children subject to custody orders
House Bill 446
Sponsor: Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo
MCADSV supports
HB 446 would clarify one aspect of a long-standing problem in Missouri statutes that prohibits the issuance of a Child Order of Protection if the child is subject to a current custody order. HB 446 would allow the court to issue a Child Order of Protection against a person if “the respondent is not and has not been a party to a court action involving custody of the child.” This language still would not address the issue of obtaining a Child Order of Protection against a parent of the child if there is a current custody order.

Petitioners who contact respondent may be charged with crime of violating the protection order
House Bill 237
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar
MCADSV opposes
HB 237 would amend protection order law in Section 455.538 RSMo by adding the following language:
"If a petitioner who has been granted an ex parte or full order of protection by the court initiates contact in any manner or through any medium with the respondent of such ex parte or full order of protection, the petitioner shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, unless the petitioner has previously pleaded guilty to or has been found guilty of a violation of this subsection within five years of the date of the subsequent violation under this subsection, in which case the subsequent violation shall be a class E felony."

Respondents not in violation of protection order if petitioner initiates contact or communication
House Bill 59
Sponsor: Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal
MCADSV opposes
HB 59 would amend current law in Section 455.538 RSMo by adding that it would not be a violation of a protection order if a respondent communicated with the petitioner in response to the petitioner’s initiation of communications.

Electronic monitoring of protection order violators
Senate Bill 99
Sponsor: Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar
MCADSV supports
SB 99 would allow a court to place a person on electronic monitoring with victim notification if a person has been charged with or found guilty of violating an Order of Protection.

Unpaid leave from work

Unpaid leave from work for victims of sexual and domestic violence
Senate Bill 268
Sponsor: Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
SB 268 would create unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or human trafficking to obtain services, medical care, legal assistance or to participate in court proceedings. MCADSV will suggest some amendments to ensure the bill fully includes victims of sexual assault in all sections.

Human trafficking

Posters with national human trafficking hotline number required in public places
House Bill 261
Sponsor: Rep. Cloria Brown, R-St. Louis
MCADSV supports

Senate Bill 68
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 261 and SB 68 both would require posters advertising the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline in public places such as hotels, truck stops, hospital emergency rooms, sites of public transportation and adult entertainment businesses. Hearings on both bills were held in January.

Public Assistance

TANF/SNAP recipients barred from gaining cash from benefit cards; limits items to be purchased
House Bill 164
Sponsor: Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville
MCADSV opposes
HB 164 would prohibit those receiving public assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits or food stamps (SNAP) from using their electronic benefit cards (EBTs) cards to get cash from ATMs or cash back from purchases made with EBT cards. The bill also would limit the items that may be purchased with TANF and SNAP electronic benefit cards.

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session.

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

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

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