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MCADSV End-of-Session Legislative Update - May 20, 2015
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MCADSV achieved all of our funding priorities and many of our legislative priorities in a successful 2015 session of the Missouri General Assembly. Legislators filed more than 2,000 bills this session but only 150 were passed and sent to the Governor.  

MCADSV’s 2015 public policy achievements include:
  • An increase of more than $28 million in federal funding for victim services grants;
  • New laws to allow sexual assault and rape victims to obtain Orders of Protection;
  • Increases in the amount of compensation paid to crime victims; and
  • Changes to election laws to protect Safe at Home program participants.


Appropriations

MCADSV appropriations priorities achieved in 2016 state budget
MCADSV achieved its funding priorities in the state budget for 2016 that was passed by the Missouri General Assembly and then signed into law by Gov. Jay Nixon.

House Bill 8 - Department of Public Safety (DPS)
VOCA grants increased by $28 million in federal funding and federal STOP/SASP grants increased by $400,000  

Funding for victim services grants was significantly increased in the DPS budget:
  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $37 million in federal crime fines funding, an increase of $28 million from the current funding of $9 million
  • State Services to Victims’ Fund (SSVF) grants: $3.6 million in state crime conviction fines (decrease of $300,000 from current $3.9 million)   
  • Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) grants: $2.8 million federal funding ($400,000 funding increase)     
      
House Bill 11 - Department of Social Services (DSS) budget
$500,000 state funding for SV services and $9 million state and federal total funding for DV shelter and services


MCADSV gained the restoration of $500,000 in state sexual assault services funding after it had been cut in the Governor’s proposed budget for 2016.

Domestic violence services funding in the DSS budget totals $9 million, consistent with current levels:
  • State funding for domestic violence shelter and services: $4.75 million
  • Federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): $2.116 million
  • Federal Temporary to Assistance for Needy Families funding (TANF) for shelter and services: $1.6 million
  • Federal TANF funding for shelter services: $562,137

House Bill 10 - Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) budget
$50,000 reduction in federal RPE grant funding


The “Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness and Education Program” in the DHSS budget was reduced:
  • Federal funding of $792,134 for the Rape Prevention and Education grant program, a $50,000 reduction from current funding levels

 


BILLS THAT PASSED

 

PROTECTION ORDERS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS

Lawmakers unanimously pass bill creating sexual assault protection orders
Senate Bill 321   
Sponsor: Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby   
MCADSV supported
Legislators in both the House and Senate passed SB 321 unanimously. The bill allows sexual assault survivors with no family or household relationship to an offender to obtain a protection order. This change includes both Adult and Child Orders of Protection. SB 321 also updates the definition of sexual assault in protection order laws to include a lack of consent, to mirror changes in Missouri rape laws passed two years ago. The bill also contains a clarification of the definition of stalking in the protection order statutes.


SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN

Bill to address sexual abuse of children includes sexual assault protection orders
Senate Bill 341   
Sponsor: Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane
MCADSV supports
SB 341, a bill to address juveniles with problem sexual behaviors against other children, passed with a provision that includes the sexual assault protection order content of SB 321. The bill will allow the Children’s Division to open a family-centered investigation of reports of sexual abuse of children committed by juveniles/children. Current law for the Children’s Division is not specific to investigations of sexual abuse against children committed by other children. SB 341 will allow the Division to investigate these reports using a “family assessment and services approach.” 



TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) RESTRICTIONS

Legislators override Governor’s veto of bill to limit TANF benefits: Changes in effect 1-1-16
Senate Bill 24   
Sponsor: Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville
MCADSV opposed
SB 24 will become law on January 1, 2016. The bill was passed by lawmakers, vetoed by Gov. Nixon, and then that veto was overridden by legislators. The bill, although less harmful in its final version than originally proposed, reduces lifetime eligibility for TANF benefits by 15 months—from 60 months to 45 months. SB 24 also cuts TANF public assistance benefits to children if their parents are not in compliance with TANF work requirements, a “full-family sanction.” Several exemptions for victims of domestic violence are included in SB 24. MCADSV was a lead advocacy organization involved in the negotiations on SB 24 to change it from the bill’s original 22-month lifetime limit for TANF benefits. It is expected that when SB 24 goes into effect in 2016, more than 9,000 TANF recipients, the majority of them children, will lose their TANF benefits.


CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION

House and Senate cast unanimous votes to increase crime victims’ compensation amounts
Senate Bill 141   
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar   
MCADSV supported
SB 141 passed. It increases, from $200 to $400 per week, the maximum amount of compensation paid through the Crime Victims’ Compensation program for death, personal injury, or loss of earnings or support to crime victims. The bill was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate.


TRAFFICKING

Resolutions pass to create statewide Human Trafficking Task Force and designate January as Sex Trafficking Awareness Month
House Concurrent Resolution 38   
Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield   
MCADSV supported
HCR 38 was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate. The resolution establishes a Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task Force will include legislators, representatives of state departments, the courts, the Attorney General’s office, and representatives of organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking. The service providers will be selected and appointed by the President of the Senate and the House Speaker. The Task Force will be required to issue a report to the Missouri General Assembly with recommendations to address human trafficking in Missouri.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1  
Sponsor: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supported
SCR 1 passed. The resolution designates January as Sex Trafficking Awareness Month in Missouri.


ELECTIONS

Elections bill includes measure to allow absentee voting by Safe at Home participants
Senate Bill 34   
Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau   
Contains House Bill 362  
Sponsor: Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supported
SB 34 passed. This election bill was amended to include a provision that allows participants in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program to cast absentee ballots in elections. That provision was originally filed as HB 362, sponsored by Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis). The absentee voting provision is intended to protect the voting rights of Safe at Home participants, who are domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims who might be tracked by their abusers to public polling places.


BILLS THAT FAILED

 

UNPAID LEAVE FROM WORK FOR DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Bill failed to move beyond Senate committee
Senate Bill 130     
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supported
SB 130, a bill to provide unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic and sexual violence, failed to pass. It had been passed in April by a Senate committee with only one vote in opposition. The version of SB 130 passed by the committee was a compromise to address opposition from business groups. That substitute bill included unpaid leave for both domestic and sexual violence victims, narrowed the unpaid leave to only apply to an employee and not to any employee’s family members, and removed the private cause of action that would allow employees to sue an employer who fired them for seeking/taking unpaid leave.


BULLYING 

MCADSV-supported amendment included in final version of anti-bullying legislation
House Bill 458   
Sponsor: Rep. Sue Allen, R-St. Louis   
MCADSV supported
HB 458, a bill that would have expanded current laws to address bullying in schools, failed to pass. The bill added “cyber bullying” to policy requirements for school districts and established reporting and documentation procedures for incidents of bullying in schools. The final version of HB 458 included an amendment sought by MCADSV to require districts to include student-led responses to prevent and address bullying in school policies and practices. 
    

TRAFFICKING

Bills to address child sex trafficking and protect adult trafficking victims fail to pass

House Bill 152   
Sponsor: Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield   
MCADSV supported
HB 152 failed to pass. The bill would have expanded the crime of sexual trafficking of a child to include advertising a child to participate in a commercial sexual act or a sexual performance and/or the production of sexually explicit material.

Senate Bill 211   
Sponsor: Sen. Gina Walsh, D-St. Louis   
MCADSV supported
SB 211 failed to pass. It would have added victims of human trafficking to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. Safe at Home currently provides alternate address protection to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.


TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) RESTRICTIONS


Bill defeated that would have limited cash withdraws on TANF electronic benefit cards

House Bill 977   
Sponsor: Rep. John Eggleston, R-Maysville    
MCADSV opposed
MCADSV led the opposition to HB 977, which failed to pass. The bill would have capped at $40/month the amount of cash TANF recipients could withdraw via their electronic benefit cards. HB 977 also would have prohibited cash back from food purchases made with food stamps (the “SNAP” program). TANF, a cash-benefit public assistance program, is the only source of cash that recipients receive.


EXPERT WITNESS

Bills failed to change standards for qualifying as an expert witness in court cases
House Bill 697   
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City   
Senate Bill 233
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City  
MCADSV opposed
HB 697 and SB 233 both would have changed the standards in Missouri law for those designated as expert witnesses to testify in court proceedings. The bills failed. MCADSV opposed the bills because of the impact in family law cases where domestic and sexual violence advocates are able to be certified as experts under current law.

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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
To view copies of bills, go to the Missouri General Assembly website at www.moga.mo.gov. The site has been changed for the 2015 session. To review or find a bill, select “Legislation,” click on “House Bills” or “Senate Bills” for a listing of filed bills. To find a specific bill, you also may select the “Bill Search” on the menu bar to search by bill number.


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/