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We change laws. We change lives. 

MCADSV Legislative Update - January 31, 2019
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2019 Missouri legislative session begins with hearings on priority legislation 

The 100th legislative session of the Missouri General Assembly convened Jan. 9. The five-month session will conclude May 17. Gov. Mike Parson delivered his State of the State speech on Jan. 16 and released his proposed state FY2020 budget. House and Senate committee appointments were made and committee hearings began the week of Jan. 21. MCADSV priority bills were the first bills to be heard in multiple committees. These included bills supported by MCADSV to create housing rights for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and bills opposed that would establish presumption of 50/50 child custody, and that would increase work requirements for food stamp benefits. The second bill passed by the House was a bill to strengthen laws on child sex trafficking. 

Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days: Join MCADSV members at the Capitol each week in February 

The 100th Missouri General Assembly includes a significant turnover of legislators due to term limits. Your advocacy matters now as we establish relationships with freshman legislators. Join us as advocates from MCADSV member programs meet in the Capitol with legislators each week in February to put into practice the slogan of MCADSV’s legislative advocacy: “We change laws. We change lives.” 

RSVP to Jennifer Carter Dochler, MCADSV Public Policy Director, at jennc@mocadsv.org and indicate which date you will attend. She will provide additional information about how to schedule meetings with legislators and how to join with other advocates using Twitter accounts as an effective tool in grassroots advocacy (#mcadsvpublicpolicy, #moleg). If you cannot attend one of the Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days in Jefferson City, please schedule in-district appointments with your legislators and let Jennifer know of the meetings.

Missouri Capitol Advocacy Days will be each week in February:
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26
     

Appropriations

Gov. Parson proposes FY2020 state budget with $18 million VOCA increase and stable domestic violence and sexual assault state funds
Gov. Mike Parson released his proposed state budget for FY2020 (July 1, 2019—June 30, 2020). The budget proposal contains an $18 million increase in federal funding of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant program and level state funding for domestic and sexual violence services grants. MCADSV testified on Jan. 23 and 24 before both House and Senate appropriations committees regarding domestic and sexual violence funding. 

The Governor’s Executive Budget document contains varying levels of funding detail for each state department. Specifics for every line-item in the state budget will be contained in the appropriations bills to be filed by the House Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. Cody Smith (R-Carthage).


The Governor’s Executive Budget contains the following information on domestic and sexual violence funding:

Department of Social Services (DSS):

  • Sexual assault services: $910,000, state and federal funds, unchanged from FY2019
  • Domestic violence services: $10.556 million, state and federal funds, unchanged from FY2019
  • Emergency shelter grants: $562,137, federal funds, unchanged from FY2019
  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): $63.7 million, an $18 million increase from the FY2019 total of $45.6 million. This gives DSS the full spending authority for Missouri’s new award of VOCA funds.

Department of Public Safety (DPS): The DPS budget summarizes funding for all “crime victims’ programs” without detailing amounts for the federal STOP and SASP grants, the state crime-fine-funded State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) grant and the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) program. 

  • Crime victims’ programs: $ 16,906,231, an increase of approximately $200,000 from FY2019

Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): The DHSS budget summary does not contain line-item information on the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant program in the overview for the Division of Public and Community Health.


ACTIONS ON PRIORITY LEGISLATION

 

Housing Rights

Bills filed that would allow lease termination and other housing rights to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking
Senate Bill 60 (Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City)
House Bill 243 (Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron)
House Bill 544 (Rep. Jean Evans, R-Manchester)
House Bill 683 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-St. Louis) 
MCADSV supports
A House committee hearing was held on Jan. 29 on two similar measures:  HB 243 and HB 544. All four bills would allow victims of stalking, domestic and sexual violence to terminate their leases when documentation of their victimization, or risk of victimization if they remain in the dwelling, is provided to a landlord. The documentation could be a police report, protection order or statement from a service provider. The bills also would provide victims with protections from eviction or lease termination. The bills would establish an affirmative defense in suits for back rent from tenants who left a rented residence because of their victimization. Landlords would be allowed to charge a “reasonable” termination fee to a victimized tenant who terminates a lease. The content of the bills is similar to legislation supported by MCADSV in 2018.
 

Child Custody

Bills again filed to establish presumption for shared parenting through 50/50 child custody 
Senate Bill 14 (Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)
House Bill 229 (Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau)
MCADSV opposes
A Senate committee passed SB 14 on Jan. 30 after a hearing was held on Jan. 23. SB 14 and HB 229, similar to previous bills filed by the same bill sponsors for several years, would establish a legal presumption that it is in the best interest of children that judges award 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. The bills do not contain language that creates a presumption against shared parenting when domestic violence has occurred, which MCADSV gained as an amendment to the 2018 Senate bill. 

 

Poverty

Bills again filed to increase food stamp work requirements 
Senate Bill 4 (Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville)
House Bill 475 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove)
MCADSV opposes
A hearing was held for SB 4 on Jan. 30 and MCADSV joined more than a dozen other organizations testifying in opposition. The bills would increase work requirements and non-compliance penalties for those who receive food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The additional SNAP work requirements would, for lack of work compliance, penalize SNAP recipients—including children in the household—from food stamp eligibility for a range of three months to permanent disqualification. 

 

Human Trafficking

Coalition of children’s advocacy organizations support bill to strengthen child trafficking laws
HCS House Bill 397 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold)
MCADSV supports
A House Committee Substitute for HB 397 was quickly passed by two House committees.  The bill was debated and amended by the House on Jan. 30 and passed by the House on Jan. 31.  As part of a coalition of advocacy organizations for children, MCADSV provided written support for HB 397 during a House committee hearing on Jan. 23. The bill would provide an affirmative defense to the charge of prostitution for anyone younger than 18, without the current law’s requirement that the young person be acting “under the influence of an agent.” HB 397 also would allow expungement of prostitution convictions for persons convicted of the offense when they were younger than 18—provisions supported by MCADSV in past legislative sessions.


Title IX/Higher Education

Bills would dramatically change process, procedures and venue for Title IX complaints and hearings
Senate Bill 259 (Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington) 
House Bill 573 (Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-La Monte)
MCADSV opposes
Both SB 259 and HB 573 would create new procedures and processes that the bills’ supporters describe as protecting due process rights of students accused in complaints made under Title IX of the Federal Education Amendments. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs. The lengthy bills, which clearly target Title IX complaints made for rape or sexual assaults, would allow both due process hearings and appeals filings before the Administrative Hearing Commission. These, and other procedures, would remove the Title IX process from an educational setting to a state hearing process governed by the rules of civil procedure. Other provisions allow for new grievance filing procedures for those accused of offenses and would allow a person to file a lawsuit against another individual who publishes a false accusation that someone person has been guilty of sexual assault or rape. Sen. Romine and Rep. Dohrman are the Chairmen of the Higher Education Committees in the Senate and House.

Bill would require campus student organizations to designate mandated reporters for reports of domestic and sexual violence
House Bill 131 (Rep. Chris Carter, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV monitoring
MCADSV will meet with the bill sponsor to discuss possible unintended negative consequences of HB 131. The bill would require that every public university or college require all student organizations receiving funding from the institution to designate one member of the organization’s “leadership” as a mandated reporter of any student reports of domestic violence or sexual assault. That designated student reporter than would be required to report to the university or college personnel responsible for Title IX complaints and investigations.


Unpaid Leave From Work

Bill again filed to allow unpaid leave from work for domestic and sexual violence victims to obtain assistance and attend court 
Senate Bill 178 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
SB 178 would allow unpaid leave from work for a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or sex trafficking if the person is employed by a public or private employer with at least 15 employees. The bill would allow victims to take unpaid leave to seek medical attention, recover from injury, obtain victim services or counseling, participate in safety planning, and to seek legal assistance. SB 178 also would allow unpaid leave to those needing that time to address the victimization of family or household members. The content of SB 178 is similar to bills supported by MCADSV for the past several years.

 

Orders of Protection

Amendment needed for initial language in bill to specifically include pets in Orders of Protection
House Bill 370 (Rep. David Gregory, R-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports with amendment
The intent of HB 370 is to allow those seeking Orders of Protection to gain legal custody and protection of their pets from the person who has harmed them. However, the bill is drafted in a way that will create obstacles to its passage. MCADSV proposes that HB 370 be amended so that custody and control of pets is specifically included in the law detailing the relief a court could grant to a petitioner through a protection order. This differs from the structure of HB 370, which adds a cause for obtaining an order by creating a new definition of “Intimidation” that applies only to harm and threats to animals. 

 

Firearms

Bill would allow judges to order surrender of firearms through Orders of Protection and prohibit firearm possession by domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents
Senate Bill 41 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
SB 41 would modify the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm by including those who are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense during the previous five years or who is the respondent to a Full Order of Protection. The bill also would require that, upon conviction for any domestic violence offense, a court must order the respondent to surrender any firearms in his or her possession to local law enforcement authorities. The content of SB 41 is similar to legislation supported by MCADSV in 2018.

Bills would amend unlawful possession of firearms crime by adding gun possession by domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents 
Senate Bill 94 (Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 163 (Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City)
MCADSV supports
The crime of unlawful possession of a firearm would be amended by SB 94 and HB 163 to include those who are convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors and those who are respondents to Full Orders of Protection. The content of these bills is similar to legislation supported by MCADSV in 2018.

Bills would create “extreme risk protection orders” to allow courts to order surrender/seizure of guns
Senate Bill 42 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 40 (Rep. Deb Lavender, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 545 (Rep. Alan Green, D-Florissant)
House Bill 695 (Rep. Ian Mackey, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
SB 42, HB 40 and House Bill 545 each would establish a new type of protection order to require the surrender of firearms by persons found by a court to be at extreme risk of harming themselves or others. A family or household member of the person, or a law enforcement officer or agency, could file for the order. As with current protection orders, the court could issue an immediate Ex Parte order and would be required within 14 days to hold a hearing on issuing a Full Extreme Risk Order of Protection. Respondents to the order would be required to surrender their firearms to a local law enforcement agency or they could be seized by a law enforcement officer after a search. A gun seizure warrant could be issued if the respondent to the order did not surrender firearms as ordered. Those with orders issued against them could file a motion to have them modified or rescinded. SB 42 and HB 40 would establish extreme risk protection orders within the current protection order statutes in Chapter 455. HB 545 would establish create the orders in Chapter 571. All bills would make it a felony offense for a person subject to an extreme risk protection order to possess a firearm.

Bill would establish “firearms restraining orders” similar to extreme risk protection orders
Senate Bill 23 (Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
SB 23 would create “firearms restraining orders” which would be similar by function and structure to the extreme risk protection orders in SB 42, HB 40 and HB 545. The firearms restraining orders in SB 23 would be established in Chapter 455, which contains current laws protection orders for domestic and sexual violence, dating violence and stalking.

 

 

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2019 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2019 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