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MCADSV Legislative Update - March 31, 2016
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House passes FY17 appropriations bills with no changes to DV/SV funding

In March the House passed all Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations bills without any changes to current funding for domestic and sexual violence grant programs, including the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds. Senate committee hearings on all appropriations bills began March 29.

In other actions on MCADSV priority legislation during March, the House gave first-round approval to a House bill requiring MOU’s between universities and law enforcement agencies on responses to sexual and domestic violence; a Senate committee held a hearing on the Senate version of the bill. After unanimous passage by the Senate, two House committees passed the Senate protection order bill that would allow victims to retain their cell phone numbers and services separate from family plans with their abusers. The Senate bill allowing unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence was stalled in a Senate committee. The House passed an anti-bullying bill. A House committee passed a bill restricting access to forensic evidence in cases of child abuse.

A Senate resolution to allow discrimination against same-sex couples based on religious beliefs was passed and sent to the House following a record-breaking Senate filibuster against the measure. Few actions subsequently occurred on the Senate floor in March as a result of continuing partisan conflict. 

The Missouri General Assembly reconvened on March 29 after a week-long Spring Break. 


Appropriations

In March the House passed all appropriations bills without any changes to current funding for domestic and sexual violence grant programs, including the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds. Appropriations bills originate in the House and follow a process of hearings, amendments and floor debate before they proceed to the Senate for similar actions. The House and Senate must agree on final versions of the appropriations bills that comprise the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget (July 1, 2016—June 30, 2017). The Missouri General Assembly is required to pass the state budget by May 6, 2016.
Status: The House passed appropriation bills with current funding levels for all DV/SV grant programs. The Senate Appropriations Committee began a week of hearings on all appropriations bills on March 29.

Department of Social Services (DSS) 
House Bill 2011: Domestic and sexual violence funding at current levels

  • Domestic violence services funding: $4.75 million state; $3.7 million federal; $562,000 TANF/federal (Section 11.175)
  • Sexual violence services funding: $500,000 state  (Section 11.180)
  • Emergency Solutions grants (ESG): $4.130 million federal (Section 11.150)

Department of Public Safety (DPS)
House Bill 2008: Victim services grant funding at current levels

  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $37 million federal (Section 8.045)
    • This total maintains the significant increase in VOCA funds that were included in the current FY16 state budget.
  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) grants: $3.6 million (Section 8.040)
  • Services, Training, Officers and Prosecutors (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants: $2.99 million federal (Section 8.050)
  • Crime Victims’ Compensation program: $11.7 million combined state and federal funds (Section 8.055)
    • This includes funding for direct compensation for crime victims, the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program and a new program for child physical abuse forensic examinations.

Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)  
House Bill 2010: Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant funding at current levels

  • Sexual Violence Victim Services, Awareness and Prevention Program:  $792,134 federal funds (Section 10.725)
    •  This is the funding line-item for the RPE grants and the small amount of DHSS funding for sexual assault grants. 


Actions on priority legislation

UNPAID LEAVE FOR DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Senate Bill 907 
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports, gained amendments
SB 907 would allow unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence to attend legal/court proceedings and obtain needed services. Following multiple vote cancellations at the hearing level, a compromise version of SB 907 is now being supported by industry groups. The compromise removes provisions in the bill that specifically allowed a "private cause of action" for employees, allowing those fired for taking unpaid leave to sue their employers. However, the bill still would create a legal right for employees to take unpaid leave to address needs related to domestic and sexual violence. 
Status: The scheduled March 22 Senate committee vote on the compromise version of SB 907 was cancelled.

 

PROTECTION ORDERS AND CELL PHONE PLANS

Senate Bill 838
Sponsor: Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City
MCADSV supports, gained amendments
SB 838 would allow Full Orders of Protection to include provisions so victims could retain their cell phone numbers and wireless services separate from family plans with their abusers. SB 838 provides that after notice of a protection order with this provision, wireless companies would have three business days to transfer family plan contracts solely to victims. 
Status: SB 838 was unanimously passed by a House committee on March 10. The bill awaits placement on the House calendar for floor debate.

House Bill 1972
Sponsor: Rep Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo
MCADSV supports
HB 1972 is the House version of the protection order/cell phone bill. 
Status: HB 1972 was passed on Feb. 24 by the House Rules Committee as a non-controversial bill that can proceed quickly through floor debate. The bill awaits placement on the House calendar for debate. 

TRAFFICKING AND SAFE AT HOME PROGRAM

House Bill 1396
Sponsor: Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 1396 would add victims of human trafficking to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. The Safe at Home program currently provides an alternate legal mailing address for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Status: HB 1396 is on the House calendar for floor debate after it was passed by House committees in February.

Senate Bill 888
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
SB 888 is the Senate version of HB 1396. 
Status: SB 888 was unanimously passed by the Senate on March 31 and advanced to the House.

 

SEX TRAFFICKING OFFENSES

House Bill 1562
Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield
MCADSV supports, gained amendments
HB 1562 would add to current trafficking offenses the additional element of advertising the availability of an adult or child for sexual activities. The bill contains amendments sought by MCADSV to include the new criminal elements of trafficking offenses in both adult and child sex trafficking offenses. 
Status: HB 1562 was passed by a Senate committee on March 15 following passage by the House. It awaits placement on the Senate calendar for floor debate.

Senate Bill 804
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis
MCADSV supports, gained amendments
SB 804 is the Senate version of the criminal sex trafficking legislation. The bill contains the amendments sought by MCADSV to address both adult and child sex trafficking offenses.
Status: SB 804 was unanimously passed by the Senate on March 3 and advanced to the House. It was referred to a House committee for a hearing on March 30.

RESPONSES TO CAMPUS SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC ASSAULT, STALKING

House Bill 1678
Sponsor: Rep. Sheila Solon, R-Blue Spring
MCADSV supports
HB 1678 would require colleges and universities, including two-year institutions, to develop detailed MOUs with local law enforcement agencies on responses to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. 
Status: HB 1678 was passed by the House on March 17 and advanced to the Senate. It was referred to the Senate EducationCommittee for a hearing on March 31.

Senate Bill 1085
Sponsor: Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg
MCADSV supports
SB 1085 is the Senate version of the campus MOU bill. The Senate Education Committee held a hearing on the bill on March 16.
Status: SB 1085 was voted out of committee on March 30 and awaits placement on the Senate calendar.

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

Senate Bill 964
Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau
MCADSV monitoring and seeking amendments
SB 964  would change existing custody and visitation laws to a new default standard of “shared parenting.” MCADSV is working in concert with the Missouri Bar Association and legislators to negotiate changes to SB 964 and its companion House bill, HB 2055, to ensure strong custody and visitation legal protections remain for domestic violence victims and their children.
Status: SB 964 is on the calendar for Senate floor debate.

House Bill 2055
Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau
MCADSV monitoring and seeking amendments 
HB 2055 is the House “shared parenting bill.” Representatives of the Missouri Bar Association and legislators, along with MCADSV, seek agreement on amendments to the bill. Rep. Swan already agreed with MCADSV’s request that she remove provisions in a substitute version of HB 2055 that would change current custody/visitation laws that provide protection for domestic violence victims and their children. 
Status: HB 2055 awaits agreement by the Missouri Bar Association, legislators and MCADSV on further amendments before committee action will proceed. This follows testimony given during an in-depth, two-day hearing in February.

SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAMS

House Bill 1583
Sponsor: Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country
MCADSV supports
HB 1583 would expand school districts’ requirements for anti-bullying policies and responses. The bill contains language proposed by MCADSV to allow student peer-to-peer programs and initiatives as part of a district’s anti-bullying programs. During floor debate, amendments were added that weaken the intent of the bill, which was to expand anti-bullying policies and responses by school districts. One of those amendments allows schools with existing anti-bullying policies to be exempt from the bill’s provisions.
Status: HB 1583 was passed by the House on March 14 and was referred to the Senate Education Committee for a hearing on March 31. 


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRIME REPORTING

Senate Bill 921
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane
MCADSV supports
SB 921 would set new requirements for law enforcement agencies to report incidents of domestic violence, whether or not an arrest is made, for compilation in the Uniform Crime Reports maintained by the Department of Public Safety. Other provisions of the bill clarify timelines for local law enforcement agencies’ submission of domestic violence homicide and suicide reports.
Status: SB 921 was passed by a Senate committee on Feb. 25. It is on the Senate calendar for floor debate. 

House Bill 1930
Sponsor: Rep. Diane-Franklin, R-Camdenton
MCADSV supports
HB 1930 is the House version of the domestic violence crime reporting bill.
Status: HB 1930 was passed by the House on March 31 and advanced to the Senate.


CRIMINAL CODE REVISIONS: ABUSES OF ELDERLY, DISABLED, VULNERABLE PERSONS

Senate Bill 663
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield
MCADSV supports
SB 663 is an omnibus “Criminal Code” bill that would revise the 2014 overhaul of all criminal offenses. Those criminal code revisions are to take effect on Jan. 1, 2017. SB 663 contains provisions sought by MCADSV to make technical corrections to the mandatory reporting laws for abuse of elder, disabled and vulnerable persons. The corrections would reinstate a long-standing section of law (that was inadvertently omitted) to clarify that no mandatory reports are required for suspected abuse of elderly, disabled or vulnerable persons “who are able to meet their own essential human needs, and seek or obtain services for any needs or abuse against them.” Elders are defined as those 60 and older. SB 663 also contains changes to the offense of aggravated stalking, adding the element of electronically stalking a person in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. That provision was originally filed as Senate Bill 886, sponsored by Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis. 
Status: SB 663 is awaiting Senate floor debate.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY OF CHILD ABUSE FORENSIC EVIDENCE

House Bill 2202
Sponsor: Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
HB 2202 would provide additional restrictions on the sharing of photos or recordings obtained in child abuse forensic examinations or investigations, requiring court orders for sharing the information and adding these materials to those that are redacted from public court records. The bill was passed as a substitute bill on March 7 by the House Judiciary Committee.
Status: HB 2202 awaits House floor debate.

Senate Bill 971, Senate committee substitute not available online
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield
MCADSV supports
SB 971 is the Senate version of HB 2202. It was passed on Feb. 23 by a Senate committee.
Status: SB 971 awaits placement on the calendar for Senate floor debate.


TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

House Bill 2481
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Pfautsch, R-Harrisonville
MCADSV supports
HB 2481 would designate the month of February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Missouri. 
Status: No action on HB 2481 occurred in March.


QUALIFICATIONS FOR EXPERT WITNESSES

Senate Bill 591
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar
MCADSV monitoring
SB 591 would change the legal standards to qualify as an expert witness. The bill exempts family and juvenile courts, including domestic violence and protection order cases, from new standards for qualifying as an expert witness. This change was sought by MCADSV due to the effects on qualifying DV/SV advocates as expert witnesses. 
Status: SB 591 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on March 30 and awaits placement on the House calendar for floor debate.

House Bill 1676
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City
MCADSV monitoring
HB 1676 is the House version of the expert witness bill. 
Status: HB 1676 was passed as a substitute bill on March 30 and was advanced to the House calendar for floor debate.

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You can review filed 2016 filed legislation online

•    Senate: http://www.senate.mo.gov/16info/BTS_Web/BillList.aspx?SessionType=R   
•    House: 
http://www.house.mo.gov/billlist.aspx