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May 2017 End-of-Session Legislative Report from MCADSV
After passing the fewest number of bills in almost 20 years, the Missouri General Assembly adjourned its 2017 legislative session on Friday, May 12. Only 54 bills, six resolutions and the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget bills were “truly agreed and finally passed” by Missouri lawmakers. MCADSV tracked 324 bills of the 1,966 bills filed during this legislative session. 

On May 4, MCADSV gained bipartisan legislative support and success when legislators increased state funding for sexual and domestic violence services in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2018. This was significant because the FY18 budget was cut by more than $500 million from the current state budget. Legislators also voted to move the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant program, and its fund balances, from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the Department of Social Services (DSS).

MCADSV was able to forestall the passage of a bill that would have created criminal penalties for protection order petitioners who communicate with respondents to those orders. Another bill opposed by MCADSV that did not pass would have weakened protections for victims of domestic violence and their children by establishing a 50/50 shared custody standard for all child custody cases. 

Two bills approved on the last day of session were multi-provision “omnibus” bills with several sections supported by, or of interest to, MCADSV members. These included provisions that would:

  • Add prior municipal or county convictions as penalty enhancements for subsequent state convictions for domestic assault, fourth degree, and harassment, second degree, offenses;
  • Require court orders, and give the Secretary of State standing to intervene, in cases seeking the street addresses of participants in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program;
  • Increase the penalties for hate crimes when assault, third and fourth degree, or harassment, first degree, are found to be motivated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability;
  • Require a review of any changes in the financial status of Legal Services’ clients prior to trial in custody cases to determine if they have the resources to pay guardian ad litem (GAL) fees;
  • Require the Children’s Division to inform parents of local support services during a child abuse investigation when a child(ren) is at risk for removal from the home;
  • Allow the expungement of prior criminal non-support felony offenses after the convicted person pays child support arrearages or after probation/parole is concluded; and
  • Include the new class E felony offense convictions in requirements for payment of Crime Victims’ Compensation fines upon conviction.

Several MCADSV legislative priorities were among the hundreds of bills that failed to pass this session. These included bills that would allow the local creation of Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews; expand sexual assault victims’ eligibility for Crime Victims’ Compensation; provide sexual and domestic violence victims with expanded tenants’ rights and housing protections; strengthen responses to sexual assault victims in long-term care facilities; raise the legal age of marriage to 17 years old; require public posting of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number and website; allow electronic monitoring of individuals who violate Orders of Protection; and allow unpaid leave from work for victims of stalking, domestic and sexual violence. Despite broad support, the Legislature failed to create prohibitions on domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents from possessing firearms. 


Appropriations: State
State budget bills pass with transfer of VOCA grants to DSS and increased state funding for sexual and domestic violence services
The Missouri General Assembly, on May 4, sent to the governor all appropriations bills for the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget (July 1, 2017—June 30, 2018). On May 3, the House/Senate Appropriations Conference Committee passed Conference Committee Substitutes for all the budget bills to resolve funding differences between the House and Senate. 

Governor Eric Greitens will review the budget bills prior to signing them into law. Typically, budget bills are signed by mid-June. The governor has the authority to veto any line-item in the budget, and can withhold the release of any funds passed by legislators. 

Conference Committee Substitute for House Bill 11: Department of Social Services (DSS)
The final version of the FY18 DSS budget included: 

  • $250,000 increase for sexual assault services, for a total of $750,000 in state funding;
  • $250,000 increase for domestic violence services, for a total of $9.2 million in state and federal funds;
  • Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants: $37 million, federal funds 

Conference Committee Substitute for House Bill 8: Department of Public Safety (DPS)
The final version of the FY18 DPS budget included:

  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF): $2 million, a reduction of $800,000 from current funding—lowered amount due to reduced collection of court costs and crime fines that support SSVF; and 
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), STOP and SASP grants: $2.69 million, federal funds.

Actions on priority legislation

Approved omnibus criminal offenses bill contains domestic assault, harassment and hate crime sentence enhancements, Safe at Home participant protections
Conference Committee Substitute for House Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 34 (Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville) 
MCADSV monitored
A much-amended SB 34 passed on May 12. The final version of the bill, which became an omnibus criminal and judiciary bill, would: 

  • Add prior municipal, county or military convictions as penalty enhancements for subsequent state convictions for domestic assault, fourth degree, and harassment, second degree, offenses; 
  • Require court orders, and give the Secretary of State standing to intervene, in cases requesting the street addresses of participants in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program; 
  • Increase the penalties for hate crimes when assault, third and fourth degree, or harassment, first degree, are found to be motivated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability; 
  • Allow the expungement of prior criminal non-support felony offenses after the convicted person pays child support arrearages or completes probation/parole; 
  • Create a “Blue Alert” system to notify the public of assaults or homicides of law enforcement officers; 
    Add enhanced penalties for certain offenses against law enforcement officers; 
  • Create the crime of “illegal entry” into Missouri by a previously deported individual who returns to the state and subsequently commits a violent offense; and 
  • Prohibit convicted sex offenders from being near children’s museums.

Senate Bill 34 was passed with an “emergency clause,” which means it becomes law when signed by the governor (the standard effective date for bills signed into law in 2017 is Aug. 28). 

Some earlier sections of the bill were deleted from the final version that would have changed school violence reporting requirements; allowed direct Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) payments to funeral homes; and added class E felony convictions to those requiring fines paid into the CVC fund (this last provision was passed in Senate Bill 128).

Last-week amendments create new omnibus judiciary bill with family law changes 
Conference Committee Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute #2 Senate Bill 128 (Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield) 
MCADSV monitored
Senate Bill 128 was approved on May 12. The bill, which was amended in the House during the last week of session to become an omnibus criminal and judiciary bill, contains many of the same provisions as SB 34. Senate Bill 128 changed several sections of family and child protection laws that would:

  • Allow courts to review the financial status of Legal Services’ clients prior to trial in custody cases to determine if they have financially changed circumstances that would allow them to pay guardian ad litem (GAL) fees; 
  • Require responsive pleadings to any motion to modify a child support, spousal maintenance or child custody judgment; 
  • Require the Children’s Division, during a child abuse investigation, to inform parents of local support services if the child is at risk for possible removal; 
  • Allow a parent to retain visitation rights to children after delegating, for up to one year, to another person (after a background check) the “attorney in fact” care and custody rights to the children; and 
  • Allow a court to order visitation between a minor who has been appointed a guardian and the minor's parents.

 Senate Bill 128 had many of the same provisions as those passed in SB 34, including: 

  • Penalty enhancements for domestic assault, harassment and offenses classified as hate crimes; 
  • New protections from court-ordered address disclosure of participants in the Safe at Home program; and
  • Adding class E felony convictions to those required to pay fines into the Crime Victims’ Compensation fund. 

Additionally, SB 128 would allow the State Auditor, upon a request by a prosecuting attorney or law enforcement agency, to audit all or part of any government entity.

 

House passes “fund sweep” bill during last 30 seconds of 2017 session; bill reallocates unspent state funds to support in-home services for senior citizens/disabled persons 
Senate Substitute for House Committee Bill 3 (Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob)
MCADSV monitored

House Committee Bill 3 was the last bill passed by the House on May 12. The bill would reallocate unspent state funds—a “fund sweep”—to the Senior Services Protection Fund, a special fund to provide one years’ funding to preclude the loss of in-home services for 8,000 senior and disabled persons. Interpretations of the impact of the bill continue to differ, specifically whether or not it applies to every line-item in the budget funded with state general revenue. 


House Budget Committee Chairman Fitzpatrick, the sponsor of the bill, voted against the measure because he believes it to be unconstitutional. House Committee Bill 3 was part of an earlier compromise to avoid a Senate filibuster of the FY18 budget bills by lawmakers opposed to the loss of funding to support services for around 8,000 Missourians. 

 

Bill passes to make Missouri drivers’ licenses compliant with federal “REAL ID” requirements so Missourians can use those licenses to board planes, enter federal and military buildings 
SS#2 HCS House Bill 151 (Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City)
MCADSV supports
House Bill 151 passed on May 12. The bill would bring Missouri drivers’ licenses into compliance with federal “Real ID” requirements in time to meet the January 2018 federal deadline. Current Missouri law prohibits federal Real ID compliance. Without the passage of legislation, Missourians would be precluded, after Jan. 1, 2018, from using state-issued drivers’ licenses to board airplanes and enter certain federal buildings or military bases. The measure would give Missouri residents the option of obtaining a non-compliant drivers’ license if they are concerned about having personal data collected for the compliant licenses.

Previously passed bill signed into law 

Governor signs expert witness bill excluding family and juvenile court proceedings from new standards to qualify as an expert witness 
House Bill 153 (Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City)
MCADSV monitored 
House Bill 153 was signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens on March 29, after it was passed by the General Assembly on March 15. The law tightens the qualifications for who is considered an expert witness in court proceedings, but exempts expert witnesses in family or juvenile courts from those higher standards. MCADSV advocated for the exemption to ensure domestic and sexual violence advocates, whose expertise often does not include published research or certain levels of higher education, could continue to testify as experts in cases involving custody/visitation, abuse/neglect and Orders of Protection in family and juvenile courts.

Bills that did not advance

Bills opposed by MCADSV that failed

  • HCS House Bill 724: Presumption for 50/50 shared child custody. 
  • House Bill 1068: Domestic violence and firearms, with 24-hour waiting period.
  • House Bill 59: No punishment for Order of Protection respondents if petitioners initiated communications. 
  • House Bill 237: Criminal penalties created for protection order petitioners. 

Bills supported by MCADSV that failed

  • SCS Senate Bill 511: Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews. Senate Committee Substitute not yet available online.
  • House Bill 658 and Senate Bill 318: Firearms prohibitions for domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents.
  • Senate Bill 268 and House Bill 842: Unpaid leave from work for domestic and sexual violence victims.
  • Senate Bill 289: Allow sexual and domestic violence and stalking victims to terminate a lease.
  • House Bill 396: Expansion of sexual assault victims’ eligibility for crime victims’ compensation. 
  • HCS House Bills 551 & 919: Mandates law enforcement reports for sexual assault of residents in long-term care facilities. 
  • House Bill 706: Creation of criminal offense of “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images.”
  • HCS House Bill 270: Raise the legal age of marriage to 17 years old. 
  • Senate Bill 99: Electronic monitoring of protection order violators. 
  • HCS House Bill 261: Require trafficking hotline/website posters in public areas. 
  • Senate Bill 344: Expungement of trafficking victims’ convictions for prostitution. 
  • HCS House Bill 519: Elimination of statute of limitations for filing childhood sexual offense civil suits.

Bills monitored by MCADSV that failed

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ONLINE RESOURCE LINKS FOR 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The links below will provide online access to information on bills, legislators, committees and actions of the Missouri General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session.

House bills: www.house.mo.gov  Home page menu, top right “bill search” field to find bills

Senate bills: www.senate.mo.gov Home page menu, top right “bill search” menu to find bills

Current Missouri statutes: http://revisor.mo.gov/main/Home.aspx

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