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MCADSV Legislative Update - April 28, 2017
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State budget advances with increases in sexual and domestic violence state funding;
Senate votes to move federal VOCA grant program to Department of Social Services

On April 26, MCADSV gained bipartisan legislative support when the Senate voted to maintain House-passed increases in state funding for sexual and domestic violence services in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The Senate also voted that day to move the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant program, and its fund balances, to the Department of Social Services (DSS) from the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Several MCADSV priority bills gained legislators’ support and advanced through the legislative process in April. These included bills that would: strengthen responses to sexual assault victims in long-term care facilities; raise the age of marriage to 17; require public posting of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number and website; allow electronic monitoring of individuals who violate Orders of Protection; and include county and municipal convictions for domestic assault and harassment offenses as penalty enhancements for subsequent similar cases in state courts.

In April, MCADSV also gained the passage by a Senate committee of a Senate bill that would allow the establishment of local Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews. A multi-provision House bill advanced that would protect the personally identifying information of victims and witnesses in felony criminal cases and allow them to participate in the Safe at Home address confidentiality program.

The legislative challenges in April included a hearing on a House bill to address domestic violence and firearms that MCADSV opposes and the National Rifle Association supports. Committee hearings were held on House and Senate bills, opposed by MCADSV, that would weaken protections in child custody laws for domestic violence victims. An April legislative compromise softened the impact of a House bill that originally proposed to end the waiver of guardian ad litem fees for Legal Services clients in child custody cases.

MCADSV staff spent a significant amount of time in April advocating on a range of issues related to the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants. 

 

Appropriations

Senate moves VOCA grants to DSS and passes increased state funding for SV/DV services
On April 26, the Senate passed the state Fiscal Year 2018 budget bills. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate voted to move the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants, with a fund balance that may total $100 million by July 1, to the Department of Social Services (DSS) budget from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) budget. The Senate also voted to maintain House-passed increases in state funding of $250,000 each for sexual and domestic violence services’ grants in the DSS budget. All appropriations bills next advance to Senate/House Conference Committees that will resolve all differences between the Senate and House versions of the bills. The FY18 state budget, which begins July 1, 2017, must be finally approved by votes of the full House and Senate by May 5.

House Bill 11: Department of Social Services (DSS)

On April 26, the Senate passed the FY18 DSS budget that 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
    • The transfer of this funding includes "no more than 6.00 FTE" positions to administer VOCA grants in DSS.

House Bill 8: Department of Public Safety (DPS)

On April 25, the Senate passed the FY18 DPS budget that included:

  • State Services to Victims Fund (SSVF): $2.0 million, a reduction of $800,000 from current funding—resulting from reduced collection of court costs and crime fines that support SSVF;
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), STOP and SASP grants: $2.69 million, federal funds.

 

Actions on priority legislation

Sexual Assault

House bills advanced that would strengthen responses to sexual assault victims in long-term care
House Bills 551 & 919
Co-Sponsors: Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City and Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-Carrollton
MCADSV supports

HB 551 & 919 was passed by two House committees during April. It awaits placement on the House calendar for floor debate. HB 551 & 919, a combination of two similar bills, would require reports to law enforcement agencies when a resident of a long-term care facility was sexually assaulted. Current law only requires that calls be made to the elder abuse hotline when a mandated elder abuse reporter discovers that a long-term care resident has been sexually assaulted. A similar Senate bill, SB 301 (Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau), was passed by a Senate Committee in early April, but no further legislative action occurred.

 

Domestic Violence

Senate committee passed bill to allow local jurisdictions to establish Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews
Senate Bill 511 Substitute bill not yet available online
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield
MCADSV supports

SB 511 was passed as a Senate Committee Substitute, which corrected drafting errors, by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 12. The bill would allow the establishment of locally convened Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews at both the county and municipal levels. These review panels would be convened by the local prosecutor or circuit attorney and include domestic and sexual violence program representatives, law enforcement, health care providers and other professionals. SB 511 specifies that the meetings and proceedings of the review panels would not be open public meetings but reports of the panels’ findings and recommendations would be required to be publicly released. 

Bill would include county and municipal convictions for domestic assault and harassment offenses to be included in enhanced penalties provisions for repeat offenders
House Bill 1133

Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City
MCADSV supports

A House Committee Substitute for HB 1133 was passed by a House committee on April 18. The bill, which needs an additional committee vote before it can advance to House floor debate, would add convictions of county or municipal ordinances for domestic assault or harassment offenses as prior convictions that result in enhanced penalties for convictions of state-filed charges of domestic assault fourth degree or harassment in the second degree offenses. HB 1133 also adds the new Class E felonies to the law requiring fines upon conviction to be paid into the Crime Victims’ Compensation fund. The same provisions in HB 1133 that would include prior local convictions as state-charge penalty enhancements were passed by the House on April 27 in House Committee Substitute for SB 34 (Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville).  

 

Orders of Protection

House hearing held on Senate bill to allow electronic monitoring of protection order violators 
Senate Bill 99
Sponsor: Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar
MCADSV supports
On April 25, a House committee hearing was held on SB 99. The bill was passed by the Senate earlier in April. SB 99 would allow electronic monitoring of a protection order respondent who is charged with or found guilty of violating an Order of Protection. The bill would allow courts to order electronic monitoring of a protection order violator only after receiving the informed consent of the victim of the offense. 

 

Human Trafficking

Senate committee passed House bill to increase legal age of marriage to age 17
House Bill 270
Sponsor: Rep. Jean Evans, R-Manchester
MCADSV supports
On April 12, a Senate committee passed HB 270, which had earlier been amended and passed by the House. It next advances to the calendar for full Senate debate. The bill would raise the age required for a person to obtain a marriage license to 17 from the current age of 15. HB 270 would allow a court hearing to approve the issuance of a marriage license to someone younger than 17 if the court finds no evidence of abuse or coercion. The bill would not allow a license to be issued for the marriage of a person younger than 17 and a person older than 21. HB 270 is proposed as an additional legal mechanism to address human trafficking of teenage girls.

Bill advances to require national human trafficking hotline/website posters in public places
House Bill 261
Sponsor: Rep. Cloria Brown, R-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
A Senate committee hearing on HB 261 was held April 25. The bill had been passed by the House on April 10. HB 261 would require posters advertising the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and website in public places such as hotels, truck stops, hospital emergency rooms, and sites of public transportation. A similar Senate bill, SB 68 (Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis), remains on the Senate calendar for floor debate. No legislative action was taken on that bill during April.

 

Crime Victim/Witness Protections

Omnibus criminal laws bill set on House calendar for floor debate: includes expanded protections for criminal case victims/witnesses; expansion of Safe at Home program
House Committee Bill 
9

Sponsor: Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-Carrollton
MCADSV monitoring
HCB 9 was placed on the House calendar for floor debate after it was passed by a House committee on April 19. HCB 9 is an omnibus bill that would change 47 sections of criminal laws. The bill would provide a new section of law protecting the personal information of criminal case victims and witnesses from disclosure to a defendant. MCADSV will continue to seek amendments to sections that would: 

  • Require criminal courts to issue stay-away orders If intimidation or threats against victims or witnesses occurs in felony-level sexual offenses and crimes against persons offenses—this would not include such orders for misdemeanor domestic assault or stalking offenses;  and

  • Add all felony crime victims and witnesses to the Safe at Home address confidentiality program, changing the definitions and some operating processes for the program. 

A similar Senate bill, SB 513 (Sponsor: Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield), has not advanced since a Senate committee hearing was held in March.

 

Child Custody

Omnibus civil laws bills set on House calendar for floor debate; includes amended provisions for waivers of guardian ad litem fees in Legal Services clients' custody cases
HCS House Committee Bill 8
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, R-Carrollton

MCADSV monitoring
A House Committee Substitute for HCB 8 was set on the calendar for House floor debate after it was passed on April 19 by a House committee. The bill contains 28 sections of civil law changes, including a compromise provision for assessment of guardian ad litem (GAL) fees for low-income clients represented by Legal Services in custody cases. That compromise provision would allow the court to review the financial resources of the Legal Services client prior to a trial commencing and after it concludes, allowing the court to determine if the Legal Services client had the ability to pay a portion of GAL fees. Current law waives all GAL fees for Legal Services clients in custody cases. The GAL sections in HCB 8 were originally included in HB 765 (Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters), which did not advance after a March committee hearing. In addition, on April 27, the House passed another omnibus judicial bill, House Committee Bill 1, that also included the same GAL sections as in HCB 8 and HB 765. 

House and Senate bills on shared custody do not advance after committee hearings
House Bill 724
Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau
MCADSV opposes

Senate Bill 377
Sponsor: Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau
MCADSV opposes
A House Committee hearing on HB 724 was held on April 25. The similar Senate bill, SB 377, did not advance after a March committee hearing. Both bills would create a rebuttable presumption for judges to award equal parenting time in all custody cases unless “clear and convincing evidence” that such an award is not in the best interest of the child(ren) involved. This is a higher standard for evidence than current law and would be difficult for most domestic violence victims to meet.

 

Crime Victims' Compensation

Bill advanced to increase funding for crime labs from Crime Victims’ Compensation fund; added a new Class E Felony to offenses requiring fines to compensation fund upon conviction
House Bill 743
Sponsor: Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles
MCADSV monitoring
HB 743 was passed by the House floor debate on April 24. The bill would significantly increase funding for state crime labs from court costs and fines collected upon criminal convictions that fund the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) program. The House also amended the bill to allow compensation claims directly to funeral homes for costs related to homicide victims and added a section to CVC laws to include the required payment of fines upon criminal convictions for the new Class E felony offenses, which became effective in January 2017 through changes in the Missouri Criminal Code. Those same provisions for adding Class E felony conviction fines were passed by the House on April 27 in House Committee Substitute for SB 34 (Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville).

 

Firearms

House hearing held on gun bill that would allow domestic violence offenders and protection order respondents a 24-hour waiting period before having to relinquish their firearms
House Bill 1068

Sponsor: Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson

MCADSV opposes

HB 1068 would create state law prohibiting firearms possession by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes. But the bill only would apply a firearm prohibition to those subject to an "intimate partner" Order of Protection. This definition would exclude the more expansive list of protection orders available under Missouri law that protects dating couples and victims of sexual assault and stalking. HB 1068 also would enact a 24-hour waiting period before protection order respondents would be subject to enforcement of the gun prohibitions. MCADSV testified in opposition to both the waiting period and the limited protection order definition in the bill.


Bills that did not advance in April

Sexual Assault

Bill to eliminate statute of limitations for filing childhood sexual offense civil suits
House Bill 519

Sponsor: Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City

MCADSV supports

Some of the provisions HB 519, which would r
emove the current 10-year statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits for damages resulting from crimes of sexual abuse of a child, advanced in April in a different House bill, House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1155

Bill to expand sexual assault victims’ eligibility for crime victims’ compensation
House Bill 396
Sponsor: Rep. Sara Unsicker, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
No hearing was held during April on HB 396, which would expand sexual assault survivors’ access to Crime Victims’ Compensation by expanding their eligibility to receive compensation if they: made a police report up to 7 days after an assault; obtained an Order of Protection; and/or obtained a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE) or related medical care. 

Bill to establish sexual assault forensic evidence tracking system
House Bill 578
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on HB 578 which would create a statewide rape-kit tracking system in Missouri that was estimated, during a February hearing, to cost $2.6 million to implement.

Sex offender registry changes included in Omnibus House Committee Bill 9
House Bill 431
Sponsor: Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles
MCADSV monitoring
The provisions of HB 431, which would create a three-tiered system that categorizes sex offenders by seriousness of the committed offense, were included in House Committee Bill 9 during House Committee hearings in April. HB 431 subsequently did not move forward in April.

Criminal offense created for “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images”
House Bill 706
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron
MCADSV supports
No action occurred in April on HB 706 after a March House committee hearing. HB 706 would create a new class D felony offense of “nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images” to address what often is termed “revenge porn.” HB 706 would criminalize the dissemination of sexual images of a person who did not consent to the sharing of the image(s).

 

Firearms

No committee referrals or hearings for House and Senate domestic violence gun bills
Senate Bill 318
Sponsor: Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
House Bill 658
Sponsor: Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
These House and Senate bills to restrict firearms from domestic violence offenders, SB 318 and HB 659, referred to committees for hearings.

 

Human Trafficking

Bill would allow expungement of trafficking victims’ convictions for prostitution
Senate Bill 344
Sponsor:  Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
No action was taken during April on SB 344 after a February committee hearing. The bill would establish a legal process to expunge the criminal records of persons who have pled guilty to, or been convicted of, the offense of prostitution while “under the influence of an agent."

 

Housing Protection

Bill to allow domestic and sexual violence, stalking victims to terminate lease
Senate Bill 289
Sponsor: Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
No action was taken on SB 289 after a February Senate committee hearing. SB 289 would allow a tenant to terminate a lease agreement if the tenant or her/his dependent is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Other housing protections for victims are in the bill.

House victims’ tenant rights bill filed with narrower scope than Senate bill
House Bill 1066

Sponsor: Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield

MCADSV monitoring

No hearing has been held on HB 1066, which would allow those with a protection order to change locks on their rented housing within 48 hours of obtaining the order.

 

Protection Orders

Bill stalled that would prevent charges against Orders of Protection respondents if petitioners initiate communications
House Bill 59
Sponsor: Rep. Lindell Shumake, R-Hannibal
MCADSV opposes
No further action occurred on HB 59 since a February committee hearing. The bill would amend protection order law so that respondents would not be in violation of an order if they respond to communication initiated by the petitioner. 

Protection order bill with criminal penalties for petitioners withdrawn from hearing
House Bill 237
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar
MCADSV opposes
No further action on HB 237 occurred after MCADSV achieved the withdrawal of the bill from a scheduled February House committee hearing. HB 237 would create criminal penalties for any protection order petitioner who initiates communication with the order’s respondent.

 

Unpaid Leave from Work

No hearings in April for unpaid leave from work bills for sexual and domestic violence victims
Senate Bill 268
Sponsor: Sen. Jill Schupp, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
House Bill 842
Sponsor: Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis
MCADSV supports
No hearings were held in April on two bills that would create unpaid leave from work for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. 

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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