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MCADSV Legislative Update - March 31, 2021
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Bipartisan support advances MCADSV priority bills

During March, several MCADSV priority bills gained bipartisan support, often through unanimous votes. Legislators voted to advance bills that would extend the duration of protection orders, allow judges to include family pets in protection orders, change state law to restrict firearm possession by domestic violence offenders, provide unpaid leave to victims of sexual and domestic violence, expand the domestic violence tax credit program and create a rape crisis center tax credit. House members in late March passed the state Fiscal Year 2022 budget bills that maintain current funding for victim services.
 
 
Appropriations

House members vote to not fund Medicaid expansion despite voters’ approval;
Party-line vote endorses House Budget Committee position on FY22 state budget

During the final days of March, the Missouri House of Representatives passed the appropriations bills for the state Fiscal Year 2022 budget. The House members, voting along party lines, supported the surprising recommendations of the House Budget Committee, which voted on Mar. 25 to not including funding for Medicaid expansion. The expansion of Medicaid was approved by 53% of Missouri voters in a 2020 ballot initiative.

No FY22 funding changes for domestic and sexual violence services grants 
No changes were made during March House committee hearings to the FY22 funding in appropriations bills containing the domestic and sexual violence grant programs.

Department of Social Services (DSS)
Small increase in federal domestic violence funds; no change in VOCA funds

HCS House Bill 11 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
HB 11 contains the line-items for federal and state grant funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services. That funding remains mostly unchanged from the current state budget 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, pages 18-19)
  • 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, page 18)
  • Sexual assault (SVSS) state funding: $750,000, with no earmarks (line item 11.215, page 19)


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

HCS House Bill 8 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
HB 8 contains the line-items for grants that support crime victim services. 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, page 5)
  • VAWA Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) federal funding: $3.294 million (line item 8.040, page 5)


Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness and Education Program 
HCS House Bill 10 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)
HB 10 contains the line-item for grants to support sexual violence prevention programs. This line-item is the Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) grant program and is $792,134 (line item 10.720, page 32). 

 


ACTIONS ON PRIORITY LEGISLATION

 

Orders of Protection

Bills that would allow judges to issue lifetime protection orders against unrelenting abusers advance in House and Senate
HCS House Bill 744 (Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
Senate Bill 415 (Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston) 
MCADSV supports
On Mar. 31, the House gave first-round approval to HCS HB 744. The bill would allow judges to issue protection orders that could be issued for extended periods of time, up to a lifetime order. A House floor amendment (by Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis), amended HCS HB 744 to include a provision that would allow judges to include possession of pets in Orders of Protection (same content as SB 71). HCS HB 744 needs one additional House vote and then it will advance to the Senate. A Senate committee hearing was held Mar. 29 on SB 415, a similar bill which is expected to be amended to fully mirror HCS HB 744. Both bills would allow judges to issue adult Orders of Protection that could range from the current one-year time limit with renewals, to a range of two to 10 years, to a lifetime order issued that could be issued after a hearing and findings of fact of “serious danger.” The bills also would allow a judge to issue a lifetime Order of Protection when presented with a renewal request for an order that was granted for two to 10 years. Neither HCS HB 744 nor SB 415 would change current law that provides for full Orders of Protection to be issued for not fewer than 180 days and up to one year when a longer-term order is not sought or ordered. 

Bill to specifically include pets in Orders of Protection awaits Senate action
SCS Senate Bill 71 (Sen. Elaine Gannon, R-DeSoto)
MCADSV supports
SCS SB 71 is on the Senate calendar and awaits debate and vote. 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 Orders of Protection—adult and child, ex parte and full—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 passes 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
On Mar. 11, HCS HB 292 passed the House with a vote of 155-3. The current law defining stalking for protection orders includes “an unwanted course of conduct.” The bill 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.” The bill now awaits  a Senate committee hearing.

House committees pass bill to add “coercive control” to cause to obtain a protection order
House Bill 427 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson)
MCADSV supports
On Mar. 30, a second House committee passed HB 427. 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 committee passes House bill on domestic and sexual violence tax credit program;
House debate awaits bill that makes changes to numerous tax credit programs
SCS House Bill 430 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove) 
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)
HCS House Bill 1095 (Rep. Dick Deaton, R-Noel)
MCADSV supports
On Mar. 4, a Senate committee passed a Senate Committee Substitute for HB 430 to add the tax credit program for rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters to an adoption tax credit bill; the bill now awaits Senate floor debate and action. SCS HB 430, SB 155, HB 1109 and HB 1129 each contain provisions that 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). On Mar. 25, a House committee passed a House Committee Substitute for HB 1095 without changes to parallel the other tax credit bills. Currently, HCS HB 1095 increases the domestic violence $2 million annual cap to $4 million but does include the creation of a tax credit program for rape crisis centers. 

 

Sexual Assault

Senate passes police accountability bill that includes new crime of officer’s sexual conduct with a prisoner or offender
Senate Bills 53 & 60 (Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, SB 53)
(Sen. Brian Williams, D-St. Louis, SB 60)
HCS House Bill 876 (Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin)
HCS House Bills 457 & 770 (Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, HB 457)
(Rep. Jo Ann Doll, D-St. Louis, HB 770)
MCADSV supports the provision on sexual conduct in the course of public duty
The Senate passed SB 53 & 60 on Mar. 29 by a vote of 30-4. SBs 53 & 60 is a multi-provision police accountability and law enforcement response bill. Among its provisions, the bill 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. The bill would prohibit such sexual conduct by any on-duty police officer, jailer, corrections staff or probation and parole officer. The offense would be class E felony;
  • protect the identify of those who report alleged criminal acts to a “crime stoppers” organization through providing privileged communications status to those reports;
  • prohibit law enforcement officers’ use of chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized by law. 

A similar House bill, HCS HB 876, was amended during House floor debate on Mar. 30 and awaits a final House vote to then advance to the Senate. No action occurred in March on a related House bill, HCS HB 457 & 770. 

House committee  passes bill to update telehealth network for sexual assault forensic evidence exams; no action on similar Senate bill
HCS House Bill 1179 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove)
Senate Bill 550 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
On Mar. 29, a a House committee passed a House Committee Substitute for HB 1179 to mirror SB 550. 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 bills 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. 

No action on Senate bill to change aspects of 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; allow adaptation of materials required to be provided to survivors that detail their rights; and require 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.

 

Firearms

House committee unanimously passes bill that would restrict firearms from domestic violence offenders, protection order respondents
HCS 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
On Mar. 8, a House committee voted unanimously to pass a House Committee Substitute for HB 473; no action occurred on similar bills during March. The bills 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. The bills 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.

 

Unpaid Leave

Senate hearing held on bill that would create unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence
Senate Bill 16 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supports
On Mar. 29, a Senate hearing was held on SB 16. The bill would provide unpaid leave for a victim of domestic or sexual violence victim if their employer has at least 20 employees. The leave could be used to get health care, recover from injury, obtain victim services/counseling/legal services, and to participate in safety planning. SB 16 also includes family or household members of victims as eligible for the unpaid leave. SB 16 is similar to legislation supported by MCADSV since 2013.


Child Custody

House and Senate committees pass bills to establish rebuttable presumption for 50/50 shared parenting in custody cases, with exemptions for domestic violence  
House Bill 299 (Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)
House Bill 947 (Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau)

SCS Senate Bill 199 (Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring)
SCS Senate Bill 459 (Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville)
MCADSV monitoring
On Mar. 10, a Senate committee made minor amendments and passed two separate Senate committee substitute bills (SB 459 and SB199) and a House committee passed HB 299. Each of the bills would create a rebuttable presumption in favor of 50/50 custody in all child custody cases, with exemptions for domestic violence victims. In addition to the 50/50 custody provisions, both SB 199 and HB 947 contain additional provisions that would limit spousal maintenance awards in divorce cases. MCADSV’s position on all of the bills is to monitor them without opposition, but to oppose the bills if the DV protections are weakened or removed. 

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

Bills advance  that would increase penalties/denial of food stamp benefits for recipients not in compliance with 30-hour per week work requirements
SCS Senate Bill 138 (Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville)
HCS House Bill 217 (Rep. Chad Perkins, R-Bowling Green)
MCADSV opposes
In March, legislators advanced House and Senate bills that would limit eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp benefits. House Committee Substitute for HB 217 was passed by two House committees. The similar Senate bill, SCS SB 138, now awaits Senate floor debate and vote. Both bills would increase penalties and loss of SNAP food assistance benefits for nonexempt adults who fail to meet 30-hour/week work requirements. The penalties for work noncompliance would increase the loss of SNAP benefits from three months to six months to a lifetime loss of eligibility. 

House committee passes bill to link food stamp eligibility to cooperation with child support enforcement 
House Bill 451 (Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka)
On Mar. 31, a House committee passed HB 451. The bill would require cooperation with Child Support Enforcement for an adult parent or non-custodial parent/caretaker, to be eligible for SNAP food assistance benefits. The occurrence of domestic violence is a “good cause exemption” from child support cooperation that can be granted by the Missouri Division of Family Services. Victims are not always informed of this. 

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 a committee for a hearing. 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.

 

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 a committee for a hearing. 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

No action on bill 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 has not been referred to a committee for a hearing. The bill 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