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General Assembly Update

In Legal Advocacy on March 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

News from the Action Alliance on the 2011 General Assembly Update

 The 2011 General Assembly regular session ended Sunday, February 28, 2011.  Below is an update on the Action Alliance’s priorities and other key legislation of interest to our constituency.   If you have a question about any of the bills listed below or any other sexual or domestic violence related legislation, please contact Action Alliance staff directly at khall@vsdvalliance.org or gboyle@vsdvalliance.org.  

For actual votes and language of the bills, please contact the Action Alliance or go to the General Assembly website at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?111+men+BIL .

Please note that legislation that passed the House and the Senate and approved by the Governor will take effect July 1, 2011.

 Bills passed:

 1.      Restore the proposed cut to the child services coordinator grant—Budget Item 99 (c) 

 

DEFEATED   The Senate and House released their budgets on February 27, 2011.   Unfortunately, neither body restored the Governor’s proposed cut to the child services coordinator grant.  The cut remains in both budgets.  Thankfully, neither the House nor the Senate budgets propose any additional reductions in funding for sexual and domestic violence services.   

 

2.      Expand access to Protective Orders for victims of dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault— Support HB 2063 (Delegate Bell) & SB 1222 (Senator Barker)

 

PASSED House and Senate; Awaiting Governor’s Approval   This bill expands access to protective orders for victims of dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence.  The bill provides equal access with regard to eligibility for protective orders and equal protections to enforce them.   The bill does the following:  

  • Removes the criminal warrant requirement for the protective order issued by the General District Court;
  • Creates one standard for getting protections for victims of family abuse and for victims of other acts of violence, including sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.   Expands access to a protective order to any person subjected to any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury (Such act includes, but is not limited to, any forceful detention, stalking, criminal sexual assault, or any criminal offense that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury). 
  • Adds enhanced penalties for violation of the protective order issued by the General District Court so that the penalties are the same as those for violating the Family Abuse Protective Order (mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days for 2nd violation; Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of six months for a 3rd or subsequent offense).
  • Requires law enforcement to make an arrest for violation of a protective order issued by the General District Court (“Pro-Arrest” provision).  Current law already includes this provision for violation of a Family Abuse Protective Order.  
  • Changes the name of the “Stalking, Sexual Assault, and Other Acts of Violence Protective Order” issued by the General District Court to “Protective Order.”
  • Redefines “family abuse” to any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of bodily injury (Such act includes, but is not limited to, any forceful detention, stalking, criminal sexual assault, or any criminal offense that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury). 

3.      Expand the Address Confidentiality Program statewide—Support HB 1757 (Delegate Wilt) & SB 1199 (Senator Obenshain)

PASSED House and Senate; Awaiting Governor’s Approval   This bill extends the Address Confidentiality Program statewide.  Currently, the program is limited to 18 jurisdictions.   This will expand the program and no further action will be required. 

For more information on Virginia’s Address Confidentiality Program, please visit http://www.vaag.com/KEY_ISSUES/DOMESTIC_VIOLENCE/DV_AddressConfidentiality.html

 

 4.      Preserve access to services for ALL victims of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia regardless of immigration status—Oppose HB 1421 (Delegate Albo), HB 1430 (Delegate Albo), HB 1934 (Delegate Miller), & HB 2332 (Delegate Lingamfelter)

 

DEFEATED.   The Action Alliance opposed these bills and worked to have them defeated because the policies they proposed would have threatened the safety of victims by expanding the role of local law enforcement agencies and by requiring all localities to engage in immigration enforcement activities under the threat of losing state funding.  The Action Alliance opposes any legislation that threatens access to safety for any victim of sexual and domestic violence, including but not limited to, services provided by law enforcement, the courts, crisis services, and protections made available through the Violence Against Women Act. 

If you want more information on working with immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence and the barriers they must overcome to seek help, please read our latest issue of Revolutionhttp://www.vsdvalliance.org/secPublications/Revolution_4FINAL%5B1%5D.pdf

5.      Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Action Alliance—HJ 800 (Delgate McClellan)

 

APPROVED This resolution was presented and agreed to in the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia to commend the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.   If you want to read the resolution in its entirely, please visit http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?111+ful+HJ800.
Other Legislation:    PASSED House and Senate; Awaiting Governor’s Approval

 

Protective Orders

 

HB 2089 (Delegate Herring)  This bill allows a law enforcement officer to effect service of an emergency protective order by serving the person subject to the order (respondent) with notification of the order on a form approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia.  The form must contain all of the information and individual requirements of the order.  The officer making service shall enter or cause to be entered the date and time of service and other appropriate information required by the Department of State Police into the Virginia Criminal Information Network. 

Sexual Assault

 

HB 1476 (Delegate Albo) & SB 1145 (Senator Quayle) This bill extends the civil statute of limitations for for sexual abuse committed against an child/minor or incapacitated person from 2 years to 20 years from the time the minor reaches 18, the removal of the incapacity or from the time the cause of action otherwise accrues.   In essence, this bill gives a person who was sexually assault as a child more time to consider options and seek justice from the courts. 

GPS

 

HB 2106 (Delegate Armstrong) & SB 925 (Senator McDougle) This bill allows the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking as a condition of release for persons arrested and released on secured bond.

Prevention/Education

SB 1094 (Senator Hanger) This bill requires Department of Health to develop and administer a survey of students to facilitate planning and implementation of effective programs for the prevention of substance abuse through collection of data and information to (i) identify trends in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and (ii) assess the prevalence of risk and protective factors among the youth of the Commonwealth.  The bill also requires schools to develop and implement policies for notifying parents when the school has been selected to participate in the survey to inform the parent that their child may be randomly selected to participate unless the parent denies consent in writing prior to administration of the survey. The notice shall inform the parent regarding the nature and types of questions included in the survey, the purposes and age-appropriateness of the survey, how information collected by the survey will be used, who will have access to such information, whether and how any findings or results will be disclosed, and the steps that will be taken to protect students’ privacy.

Human Trafficking

 

HB 1898 (Delegate Hugo & Delegate Watts) This bill provides that abduction of any person for the purpose of prostitution or of any minor for the purpose of manufacturing child pornography is a Class 2 felony. The bill also provides that any person who receives any money or other valuable thing for or on account of causing any person to engage in forced labor or services, concubinage, prostitution, or the manufacture of any obscene material or child pornography shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.  Lastly, this bill expands the rape shield act, which prohibits the reputation or opinion evidence of the complaining witness’s unchaste character or prior sexual conduct from being admitted, to apply in prosecutions of abduction of a child under sixteen years of age for the purpose of concubinage or the abduction of any person for the purpose of prostitution.

 

HB 2190 (Delegate Ebbins) This bill requires the Department of Social Services to develop a plan for the provision of services to victims of human trafficking, which shall include provisions for (i) identifying victims of human trafficking in the Commonwealth; (ii) assisting victims of human trafficking with applying for benefits and services to which they may be entitled; (iii) coordinating the delivery of services for victims of human trafficking; (iv) preparing and disseminating educational and training programs and materials to increase awareness of human trafficking and services available to victims; (v) developing and maintaining community-based services for victims of human trafficking; and (vi) assisting victims with family reunification or return to their place of origin if the person so desires.

SB 1453 (Senator Newman)  This bill requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, advise law-enforcement agencies and attorneys for the Commonwealth regarding the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking offenses using the common law and existing Virginia criminal statutes. 

 Thanks to the Action Alliance for their hard work on these issues that impact members of our community.  If you would like more information contact: Kristine Hall, Sexual Violence Advocacy Manager
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
434-979-9002
434-979-9003 fax
1-800-838-8238 hotline

Visit their website at: www.vsdvalliance.org

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