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MCADSV Legislative Update - May 27, 2020
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May End-of-Session Edition: Important sexual assault measures pass in shortened 2020 "Corona-Session" 

Significantly fewer bills were passed during the Missouri General Assembly’s six-week-shortened 2020 “corona-session,” but an MCADSV priority bill was among those passed. Led by a bipartisan group of women lawmakers, legislators passed an omnibus bill to afford sexual assault victims new legal rights, to enhance the scope and design of a new state tracking system for rape kits, to store unreported rape kits for up to five years in a new centralized depository and create a task force on sexual assault. Several Senate bills did not pass that would have created a new rape crisis center tax credit and increased funding for the existing domestic violence shelter tax credit program. 

The Missouri General Assembly passed the annual state Fiscal Year 2021 budget bills with only one funding reduction in victim services grant programs’ funding. Legislators earmarked $250,000 of state sexual assault services grant funding for one program but agreed to consider replacing the funding when they meet in a special session expected before year’s end. As requested by MCADSV, legislators also combined services funding through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant in one line item, eliminating the previously separate and earmarked funding for new projects.

All bills that lawmakers “truly agreed to and finally passed” next advance to be considered by Gov. Mike Parson. Bills signed by the governor go into effect as Missouri law on August 28, unless a bill specifies an earlier or later effective date.  
 
 
 
Appropriations

Earmark exchange: State Fiscal Year 2021 budget removes Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) earmark for new projects, adds sexual violence fund earmark
All bills for state Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget passed on May 8. The FY21 budget bill for the Department of Social Services removed a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funding earmark for “new decision items” but adds a $250,000 earmark in state sexual assault services grant funds for a program in St. Louis. Legislators from both parties spoke of their intent to replace these funds in the grant program during a special legislative session expected to convene before the year’s end. 

The House did not make any funding reductions or changes to victim services grants in the FY21 budget for the Department of Public Safety, and made no changes in Rape Prevention and Awareness (RPE) grant funding in the budget for the Department of Health and Senior Services. 

Department of Social Services (DSS)
Conference Committee Substitute for House Bill 2011 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage) 

  • Sexual assault services grants: $500,000. This is a decrease due to an earmark of $250,000 for a specific program in St. Louis city; an additional reduction is a transfer of $160,000 of VOCA funds into the VOCA grant line-time (these are the funds that had previously been in this line item but were not awarded via SVSS grants). The sexual assault funding is in Section 11.205. 
     
Structural changes to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) budget: All federal VOCA federal funds are combined in one core services line item of $65 million, eliminating a separate $17 million VOCA line-item that had been designated for new decision items (NDI’s). There also is a line item to separately track DSS’ use of VOCA funds for administrative purposes.

  • VOCA grants: $65,035,217.  This is an increase of $1.3 million from current funding due to reallocating VOCA funds (the funds previously were included in line items for state-funded domestic and sexual violence grants; those funds were never awarded via DVSS and SVSS grants). This funding is in line item 11.200. 
  • VOCA administration: $2,001,191. This new designation for VOCA administrative-purposes funding is in Section 11.199. These funds are designated for DSS’ grant staff, information technology and contracts for training and technical assistance.

Federal coronavirus stimulus funds for domestic violence services carried over into FY21
: Federal CARES Act funds for domestic violence services that were added to the current FY20 state budget in April were carried over and added to the domestic violence services line item in the DSS budget for FY21. These are funds that will be distributed through the “DVSS” grants (there has been a delay at the federal level in releasing these funds to states).

  • Domestic violence services grants (state and federal): $9,806,661. This total in line item 11.195 includes state funds, federal TANF funds, federal Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and $528,000 of new federal coronavirus stimulus FVPSA funds. The line-item has a transfer of $1.84 million VOCA dollars into the VOCA grant line-item (these are the funds that had previously been in this line item but were not awarded via DVSS grants).  

Department of Public Safety (DPS): No changes to appropriations for current grant programs
Conference Committee Substitute for HB 2008 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)

  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF) grants: $2 million . This funding is in Section 8.035.
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants: $3.29 million. This funding, which supports Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution (STOP) and Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) funding, is in Section 8.040. 
  • "Victims’ Compensation Programs:” $11.6 million. These funds support direct compensation to victims, the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) program, and the child abuse forensic exam fund. This funding is in Section 8.045. 
  • Rape Kit Testing: $1 million, federal VOCA funds. This is a New Decision Item (NDI) for the Crime Lab operated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. This funding is in Section 8.110. 

Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
Conference Committee Substitute for HB 2010 (Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage)

  • Rape, Prevention and Education (RPE) grants: $792, 134. This funding is in Section 10.720 and is identified as "Sexual Violence Victims Services, Awareness and Education Program."


BILLS THAT ARE "TRULY AGREED TO AND FINALLY PASSED"

 

Sexual Assault

Multi-provision sexual assault bill passed to enhance victim rights, tele-health exams, rape kit tracking    
Senate Substitute SCS Senate Bill 569 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)
MCADSV supported
On May 12, House members voted 150-3 to pass SB 569, a sexual assault bill that had earlier been amended in the Senate to include several separate bills. The House debate included powerful personal testimony led by a bipartisan group of women legislators from both urban and rural districts of the state. SB 569 contains sections to create a web-based rape kit tracking system, a statewide storage facility of unreported kits that would be kept for five years, and to make all records in the tracking system confidential. The other provisions in SB 569 originated as separate bills and include:

  • SCS SB 812 (Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville): the “sexual assault survivors' bill of rights” bill creates new legal rights for survivors (advocacy, info, etc.) and creates a sexual assault task force;
  • SB 951 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis): the “justice for survivors” bill establishes a statewide sexual assault forensic exam telehealth system for hospitals by July 1, 2022.  

A House bill that contained the original SB 569 language failed to pass:  HB 1815 (Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove). Two House bills that contained the sexual assault survivors' bill of rights failed to pass: HB 2554 (Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus) and HB 2595 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold). A House bill that contained the justice for survivors act failed to pass: HB 2582 (Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee's Summit).

 

Child and Youth Protection

Updates to laws on child protection, qualified minors/homeless youth passed in 100-page omnibus bill 
Senate Substitute for SCS HCS HB 1414 (Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph)
MCADSV monitored
This bill passed on May 14. The Senate Substitute for HB 1414 is a multi-provision bill to address a range of issues involving children and youth. Several of the provisions also passed in Conference Committee Substitute for HCS for SCS SB 653 (Sen. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo). The provisions in HB 1414 include the following:  

  • Qualified minors: Qualified minors would be allowed to contract for mental health services without the permission of a parent/guardian. This expansion of existing law (Section 431.056 RSMo) affects qualified minors—those who are 16 or 17 years old and are homeless or unaccompanied youth not supported by parents/guardians.
    • Service providers immune for liability if serving qualified minors: Those who provide services to qualified minors would be immune from civil or criminal liability when providing services that include mental health, sexual assault and domestic violence shelter and assistance.  
  •  Homeless and/or unaccompanied youth: No fees for a birth certificate copy are to be charged to an unaccompanied youth or to a parent/guardian of a homeless youth. 
  • Guardians ad Litem (GALs): The bill requires GALs to conduct an initial interview within 7 days of appointment to represent a child (which the court may allow as a video-meeting), to “establish a relationship with the child” that is ongoing during the duration of their appointment, and to have face-to-face meetings with the child, in a private setting, to assess the child’s “wishes, safety and placement needs.” These changes affect GALs appointed in cases for adoption, child abuse, foster care, termination of parental rights and custody/visitation.
  • Children’s  Division (CD): The division would be required to conduct a risk assessment on a child within 72 hours of receiving a child abuse/neglect report as part of its structured decision-making protocols. 
  • Foster care: The bill establishes “temporary alternative placements” in lieu of traditional foster care placements and prohibits CD from requiring foster parents to be present for supervised visitation of a child in their care.
  • Children in Court: Children’s required appearances in juvenile court would be limited to when necessary for decisions, and after considerations of any hardships for the child.
  • Child Assessment Centers: A new section of law would provide employees at CACs with civil immunity for participation in investigations and assessment services unless they act in bad faith.
 

Bills that contained the one-time waiver of the cost of a birth certificate for unaccompanied youth included in HB 1414 that failed to pass: HB 1286 (Rep. Patricia Pike, R-Adrian); HB 1579 (Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee's Summit); and SCS SB 826 (Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin).

 

Service Animals

Bill passed to clarify laws on service animals; measure long-sought by House member
Senate Substitute for SB 644 (Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg) 
MCADSV monitored
SB 644 passed on May 15 after years of being introduced as a House bill sponsored by Rep. Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles). The bill updates the definition of a service dog to be a dog trained to assist an individual with a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. SB 644 also creates penalties for repeated instances of misrepresenting an animal as a service or assistance animal. Further, the bill directs the Governor’s Council on Disability to prepare a brochure for tenants and landlords on guidelines and laws for service dogs/assistance animals related to housing. The Council also is to develop a brochure for business owners that includes ADA-allowable guidelines defining unacceptable behavior for the animals. 

 

Controlled Substances

Penalties increased for trafficking of drugs often used in drug-assisted sexual assaults
Senate Substitute for SCS HCS#2 HB 1896 (Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
MCADSV monitored
This bill, primarily focused on regulations for medical marijuana, passed May 14. HB 1896 contains a section that increases the penalties for the offense of trafficking in drugs, which includes one gram or more of GHB and Rohypnol, two drugs often used in drug-facilitated sexual assault. The penalties for the offense of trafficking drugs would increase to a Class B felony for a first offense, and a Class A felony for a second offense. HB 1896 also increases the criminal penalty for trafficking in the drug fentanyl. 

 

BILLS THAT FAILED

 

Child Custody

Bills failed that would establish rebuttable presumption for 50/50 custody;  domestic violence exceptions maintained in House and Senate bills 
Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 531 (Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau) Senate Substitute not available online
House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1765 (Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau)

MCADSV monitored
SB 531 and HB 1765 failed. The bills would establish domestic violence as a primary cause to rebut the legal presumption, newly created in the bills, that it is in the best interest of children that judges award 50/50 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. 

 

Tax Credits

Bills failed that would create tax credit program for rape crisis centers, increase funds for DV shelter credit program
House Committee Substitute for SS for SCS SB 570 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester) 
Senate Substitute #2 for SB 704 (Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg)
House Committee Substitute for SB 616 (Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville)
MCADSV supported the domestic and sexual violence tax credits: Section 135.550 RSMo in the bills
Despite bipartisan support and inclusion in multiple bills, all measures failed to pass that would have created a new tax credit program for rape crisis centers and increased funding for the existing domestic violence tax credit program. 

The bills would have, after July 1, 2021: 1) increased the tax credit for donations to domestic violence shelters to 70% from the current 50% credit; 2) created a new rape crisis center tax credit that also would provide a 70% tax credit to donors; and 3) increased to $4 million (from the current $2 million) the statewide total of how much could annually be awarded in tax credits via these two tax credit programs. The bill also will have allowed DV shelter tax credits for donations to the one government-run Missouri domestic violence shelter (Weinman shelter, St. Louis County).  

Bills that failed: SCS SB 958 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester)Senate Committee Substitute not available online SS #2 SCS SB 648 (Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester) Senate Substitute not available online; and  HCS HB 2349 (Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold).

 

Sexual Assault

Bill to remove statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse civil suits failed

House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1411 (Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph) 
MCADSV supported
HCS HB 1411 failed. The bill would have removed the statute of limitations for filing civil suits to recover damages for personal illness or injury resulting from childhood sexual abuse. Current law has a 10-year statute of limitations. 

 

Housing

Bill that would prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted due to local public nuisance ordinances failed
House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1657 (Rep. Raychel Proudie, D-Ferguson)
MCADSV supported
HCS HB 1657 failed.  The bill would prohibit a landlord from using local “public nuisance” ordinances to evict a tenant who seeks assistance at the housing property from law enforcement or emergency services. Currently, in some municipalities, if a local ordinance includes contacting law enforcement as part of their public nuisance ordinance, then it is allowable to evict a victim of domestic violence who contacts law enforcement for help during a domestic assault.

 

Orders of Protection

Bill that would clarify the stalking definition in Orders of Protection failed
House Bill 1341 
(Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin)
MCADSV supported
HB 1341 failed. The bill would revise and clarify the definition of stalking in Order of Protection law in Chapter 455 RSMo (the bill would not change the definition of the criminal offense of stalking). 


Bills to include pets in Orders of Protection failed
House Bill 2626 (Rep. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph)
Senate Bill 959 (Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis) 
MCADSV supported
HB 2626 and SB 959 failed. The identical bills would allow those seeking Orders of Protection to have the orders grant them legal custody and protection of their pets from the person who has harmed them. All adult and child Ex Parte and Full Orders of Protection would include specific provisions in the orders allowing a judge to grant a petitioner custody and control of pets. The bills would allow the court to order payments to the petitioner for medical costs for a pet abused by the respondent.

 

Vital Records

House bill that would waive costs for copies of birth certificates for domestic violence victims failed
House Committee Substitute for House Bills 1300 & 1286 (Rep. Chris Dinkins, R-Annapolis)
MCADSV supported
HCS HBs 1300 & 1286 failed. The bill would provide a one-time waiver of the cost for a birth certificate for domestic violence victims and homeless youth. The one-time waiver for homeless youth passed in HB 1414 but the bill did not include the one-time waiver for domestic violence victims.   

 

Firearms

Bills that would prohibit firearm possession by domestic violence/stalking offenders and protection order respondents failed
House Bill 2131 (Rep. Doug Beck, D-St. Louis)
House Bill 2724 (Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis) 

Senate Bill 563 (Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis)
MCADSV supported
HB 2131, HB 2724 and SB 563 failed. These identical bills would prohibit firearm possession by those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, offenders convicted of second degree stalking, and respondents to Full Orders of Protection. The bills also would require the Missouri State Highway Patrol to include these individuals in the FBI’s NICS database of those prohibited from firearm/ammunition possession and purchase. SB 563 and HB 2131 each would modify the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm by including those who are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or those who are respondents to a Full Order of Protection.
 

 

Public Assistance

House bill that would disallow cash withdrawals from TANF or SNAP benefit cards failed
House Bill 1708 (Rep. John Eggleston, R-Maysville)
MCADSV opposed
HB 1708 failed. The bill would prohibit public assistance and food stamp recipients from using their electronic benefit cards to obtain cash from their benefit accounts for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).



 

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2020 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