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MCADSV Legislative Update - March 31, 2014
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Appropriations

MCADSV achieves more than $1 million in new funding for domestic and sexual violence services in state budget passed by Missouri House of Representatives in March
On March 27, the Missouri House voted to include $500,000 in first-time state funding for sexual assault services and an additional $562,000 in federal funding for domestic violence services in House Bill 2011, the appropriations bill for the Department of Social Services (DSS). The Missouri Senate next will hold hearings and review all state budget bills for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.

House Bill 2011—Department of Social Services

Sexual violence services funding
HB 2011 contains $500,000 in state funding for a new sexual violence services grant program in DSS, modeled on the unit-of-service domestic violence contracts in DSS.

This funding program would allow programs to choose a range of services to be provided in their communities: hotline, crisis intervention, medical and court advocacy, counseling, case management and support groups. These funds are in line item 11.157 in HB 2011 for “services and programs to assist victims of sexual assault.”

Domestic violence services funding

  • New federal funding:  HB 2011 includes $562,000 in additional federal funding for domestic violence services. This increase is from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds that can be used for domestic violence shelter and related support services for those living in poverty. These funds were included in a new line-item in HB 2011: 11.156. 
  • Existing state and federal funding:  A total of $8,466,524 was approved for domestic violence services state and federal contracts in HB 2011: $4.75 million in state funds and $3.7 million in federal funds. These are included in line item 11.155 and are awarded by DSS through the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services (DVSS) contracts.

House Bill 2008—Department of Public Safety
HB 2008 was passed by the Missouri House on March 27 with funding for the following victim services grants:

  • State crime fine-funded grant:
    • State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF): $3.95 million
  • Federally funded grants:
    • Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP): $2.49 million, which includes about $300,000 for the Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants; 
    • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA): $7.5 million. 
  • New human trafficking training program for law enforcement: HB 2008 contains $100,000 in new federal funding for a training program on human trafficking for law enforcement officers.


House Bill 2010—Department of Health and Senior Services
As passed by the House on March 27, HB 2010 includes federal funding of $842,134 for the “Sexual Violence Victim Services, Awareness and Education Program,” which contains funds for the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grants and a small amount for victim services allocated from a federal block grant. This amount is a $40,000 reduction from current funding. These funds are included in line item 10.715 in HB 2010.


CRIME VICTIMS

Bill to allow unpaid leave from work for domestic violence victims faces Senate opposition
Senate Bill 712 (Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 1717 (Rep. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV Supports
SB 712 was debated by the Senate in late March. The bill, which would create the right to seek unpaid leave from work by victims of domestic violence, faced opposition from Senators
concerned that employers could be sued if they fired employees for seeking unpaid leave. MCADSV worked to negotiate a compromise among Senators but was unable to achieve consensus. SB 712 remains on the Senate calendar for further debate should an agreement later be achieved among Senators.

HB 1717, the House version to create unpaid leave from work for domestic violence victims, received favorable responses from House members during a late March House committee hearing. HB 1717 would allow two weeks of unpaid leave to those whose employer has 50 or more employees. One week of unpaid leave would be allowed for a victim whose employer has at least 15 but fewer than 49 employees. This differs from SB 712, which was amended in a Senate committee to delete provisions about the number of employees in a business or the amount of leave a victimized employee could negotiate with an employer.


CRIMINAL CODE REVISIONS AND CRIMES

Bills would revise all state crime laws
Senate Bill 491 (Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City)
House Bill 1371 (Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia)
MCADSV Supports
Both of these bills revise and remove inconsistencies in all Missouri crime laws—changes that have not been made to the full “criminal code” for decades. In both HB 1371 and SB 491 the laws are largely unchanged for the offenses of domestic assault, sexual assault and stalking except for the addition of another level of felony and misdemeanor offenses—similar to the proposed new construction for all criminal offenses. MCADSV’s requested changes have been incorporated into these bills. SB 491 was debated by the Senate in March but no vote was held. HB 1371 awaits debate by the House.

Bill would add to the crime of aggravated stalking when offenders seek address of victim in Safe at Home address confidentiality program  
Senate Bill 710 (Sen. Gina Walsh-D, St. Louis)
MCADSV Supports
SB 710 would add an element to the crime of aggravated stalking when a person purposely attempted or succeeded in gaining access to the address of a participant in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking. A Senate committee hearing was held on SB 710 but no further action occurred during March.

Bills would create new crime of posting intimate images without consent—“revenge pornography”
House Bill 1203 (Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington) Committee substitute not available online
MCADSV Monitoring
After a House committee in February approved an amended version of HB 1203, no further action occurred on this measure to create a new felony crime, “revenge pornography.” HB 1203 defines revenge pornography as publically sharing sexually graphic images of another person without that person’s consent.
 

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

Bill would significantly decrease TANF benefits in Missouri  
Senate Bill 736 (Senator David Sater, R-Cassville)
MCADSV Opposes
SB 736 would establish a “full family sanction” that would immediately cut the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) public assistance benefits to children if the parent does not engage in required work activities (current sanctions only affect the parent’s TANF benefits). The bill would set a 24-month maximum life-time limit on receiving TANF. SB 736 also would only allow use of TANF benefit cards in Missouri and would not increase a family’s TANF benefit amount if another child is born to the family. A Senate committee hearing on SB 736 was held on March 5 but no further action has occurred.

MCADSV amendment added to bill to soften impact of TANF restrictions on out-of-state expenditures of benefits
House Bill 1861 (Rep. Wanda Brown, R-Lincoln)
HB 1861, which requires TANF benefits to primarily be spent in Missouri, gained first-round approval by the House in late March. It earlier had been amended to include provisions sought by MCADSV: a due process procedure for notifying TANF recipients of the potential loss of those benefits if they spend TANF funds outside of Missouri for 60 days, prior to suspending those benefits if out-of-state expenditures continue for 90 days. MCADSV had testified about the need for this notice, noting the number of Missouri women on TANF who seek emergency domestic violence shelter out of state because Missouri shelters are full.


TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

Senate passes bill to speed termination of parental rights of drug-addicted mothers; Similar House bill advances   
Senate Bill 530 (Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff)
House Bill 1492 (Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Oak Ridge)
MCADSV Monitoring
The Senate passed SB 530 on March 6 by a vote of 24-5.  The bill, which would speed the process of terminating the parental rights of drug-addicted mothers, proceeded to the House for a hearing. MCADSV’s testimony on SB 530, and its parallel House Bill 1492, focused on the difficulties faced in obtaining substance abuse treatment by women and the implications of the bill in terminating the parental rights of addicted mothers who do not have access to treatment. HB 1492 was passed by a House committee in late March  and awaits debate by the full House.


CIVIL COURT ORDERS

Bills would create new ‘Family Intervention Order’
House Bill 1070, House Bill 2059 (Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal)
MCADSV Opposes
HB 1070, which was voted down by a House committee in early March, would have created  new civil court orders—Family Intervention Orders—that would allow one spouse to get a court order compelling the other spouse to obtain treatment for substance abuse. The sponsor then filed a similar bill, HB 2059, which was heard by a House committee at the end of March. Each of the measures contains provisions that would give Family Intervention Order petitioners child custody advantages and control of family assets. All of these new provisions are proposed for addition to existing domestic violence laws.


SEX OFFENSES

House committee removes juveniles from public sex offender registry, creates new sexual exploitation crime in omnibus bill
House Bill 1346 (Rep. Cathie Conway, R-St. Charles)
MCADSV Opposes
Originally a bill to create the crime of sexual exploitation of a person by a clergy member, HB 1346 was passed by a House committee in March as a substitute omnibus sex offense crime bill. No other action on the bill occurred in March. Among the added provisions is the measure to remove from the public sex offender registry website the names of offenders convicted when they were younger than 18 (originally HB 1561). HB 1346 also allows juvenile offenders to petition a court to be removed from the registry after five years if they do not re-offend and comply with all sentencing requirements. To be eligible to file the removal petition, the offender could have been no more than five years older than the victim of the offense for which they were convicted.

HB 1346 also broadened the new crime of sexual exploitation beyond clergy members. The bill would create the misdemeanor crime of sexual exploitation by a person of “higher authority” than the victim. The offense would be committed by a person who holds a position of “trust or authority,” who offers “instruction, counseling, advice, therapy, aid or comfort,” and engages in a “documented pattern of efforts to seduce the victim.” HB 1346 also contains the new offense of “unlawful internet communication with a minor.”

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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
Please note that revisions to the General Assembly’s website no longer allow live links directly to each bill, so navigating to specific bills requires a few steps:
To review copies of all bills, go to www.moga.mo.gov.

      • Select “Joint Information” from the left-side menu bar, then “Joint Bill Information.” Enter the bill number in the search field.

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/