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June 2019

#AD2019: Missouri Advocates Represent MCADSV in D.C.


 

On June 12, nearly 80 state and territorial coalitions, and local programs from more than 35 states descended upon Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) annual advocacy day (#AD2019), visiting hundreds of members of Congress and their staff to make our collective voices heard. MCADSV staff and six member agencies serving on our Public Policy Committee met with all 10 offices of Missouri’s federal delegation to represent the needs of the entire 120-plus membership and support NNEDV’s efforts. The priority requests for this year are federal funding of domestic violence and sexual assault services, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA).   (Pictured from left to right: Front Row: Andrea Raya, Synergy Services; Robin Winner, Synergy Services;  Jennifer Carter Dochler, MCADSV; Michelle Shiller-Baker, St. Martha's Hall;  Second Row: Cheryl Robb Welch, MCADSV; Marsha Keene-Frye, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center; Jessica Woolbright, St. Martha's Hall; Katie Croker, Russell House; Third Row: Sara Brammer, Synergy Services; Martha Sander, Moss House; Mary Ann Allen, Haven House; Senator Roy Blunt )

Advocacy storytelling and data

A key aspect to storytelling during these meetings is presenting data that MCADSV members have provided to MCADSV and NNEDV. The most recent 2018 MCADSV Stat Sheet is always ready to distribute for the first time in our D.C. appointments, along with, new this year, a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) impact one-pager. NNEDV also released its annual census numbers on June 11. These numbers, in addition to examples provided by MCADSV and member agencies, illustrate the needs.

 

Impact of advocacy on federal budget: Increased funding

Since advocacy day, we have achieved record-level funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills moving through their subcommittees and on the floor. 

 

The Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) bill passed the House floor last week with incredible investments in our priority programs, including:  

  • FVPSA funding at the full authorization level of $175 million, for the first time.

     

The Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bills have moved through committee and will be voted on the floor by the full House this week. So far, the bills include:

  • CJS
    • VAWA total funding at $582.5 million, the highest level ever.
    • VOCA is at $2.84 billion.
  • THUD
    • DV housing set-aside of homelessness funding at $50 million, in addition to $10 million at HUD to implement VAWA housing (new).


Legislative request: Reauthorize two key pieces of legislation

Although VAWA and FVPSA have expired, funds associated with them can continue with the annual appropriations process. Still, there is always risk when the authorizing legislation expires. Reauthorizations are an opportunity to enhance provisions in statute and are our priority request for this Congress.

VAWA expired in 2018, and the current House quickly voted to reauthorize it. There will be negotiations in the Senate before the measure is final. We thanked the House members from Missouri who voted for VAWA, asked for feedback from those who voted against it and urged our two senators to pass VAWA this Congress. 

FVPSA expired in 2015. Last Congress, FVPSA needed only one final vote to pass but stalled because of a change in national consensus about whether to have a “flat” reauthorization (no changes) or wait until the next Congress to file a new bill with formula changes so that tribal areas receive more funding. We are waiting for FVPSA to be filed this Congress, but we discussed its importance as the oldest and only federal funds specific to domestic violence shelters.

Next steps

MCADSV will continue discussions with federal legislators and their staffs as we continue to advocate for these priority issues. We will notify the full membership if advocacy is needed from you all.