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April 2019 Legislative Update
Several MCADSV priority bills received broad, bipartisan support and advanced during April. This included legislation to increase housing rights for domestic and sexual violence victims by allowing them to terminate leases—a measure that was passed unanimously by the Missouri Senate and was added as an amendment to an additional bill. A bill moved quickly through the House and advanced to the Senate that would waive the cost of obtaining birth certificates for victims of domestic and sexual violence, homeless children and youth—essential documentation for work and school that often is left behind by those fleeing violence or abuse. 

During April, MCADSV gained House passage of language to provide more protections for domestic violence victims to a bill that would establish a presumption for a 50/50 custody awards in all child custody cases. That amendment, subsequently supported by a Senate committee, would establish domestic violence as a primary cause to rebut the presumption that an award of 50/50 custody is in the best interest of children.

No one testified in opposition during a House hearing on a bill to restrict firearms from domestic violence offenders after MCADSV members provided powerful testimony about both personal survival and tragic loss—testimony was provided by a stalking survivor and two advocates whose sisters were killed in domestic violence homicides.

The Fiscal Year 2020 state budget passed the Senate with a significant federal funding increase for Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) grants for victim services and with state funding maintained at current levels for domestic and sexual violence services grant programs.

And legislation opposed by MCADSV that would significantly change campus proceedings to address sexual assault allegations brought under Title IX stalled in April after news reports identified that the lead lobbyist for the effort has a son who was expelled from a Missouri university as a result of a Title IX process. Other bills opposed by MCADSV did not advance in April, specifically those that would limit usage and access to public assistance benefits.

As April ends, three weeks remain in the 2019 session of the Missouri General Assembly. Legislators must pass the state budget by May 10 and their 2019 legislative session will adjourn on May 17. 

Read about these accomplishments and remaining legislative challenges in the April edition of the MCADSV Legislative Update, available on the MCADSV website here.

All editions of the Update can be found throughout the 2019 legislative session of the Missouri General Assembly on MCADSV’s website, Public Policy page under the “Changing Laws” tab.
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