This week was cross over, which means we are officially moving into the 2nd half of the General Assembly Session. For the most part, its been a good session with respect to our priorities. We are pleased that anti-strangulation is moving forward as a stand-alone crime, that a bill to keep guns out of the hands of persons convicted of domestic violence is still alive, legislation to promote inter-agency collaboration and coordination in the investigation and prosecution of campus sexual assault expected to pass, and that legislation to clarify issues regarding protective orders processes and procedures are also moving forward without resistance.
Unfortunately, several good bills were also defeated, including legislation to enhance penalties for stalking and a bill to clarify a minor’s rights with respect to petitioning for protective orders. We are disappointed that the anti-immigration legislation is also still alive, but will continue our work with allies to defeat these bills in the Senate.
These are just a few of the highlights. Summarized below is a more detailed 2012 Cross Over Report. Kristine created a hyperlink for all bills that are still alive so that if you are interested in reading the actual language on any bill, you can “click” on the bill # and be directed to the actual bill language.
2012 Cross Over Report
PROTECT FUNDING FOR CRISIS AND SAFETY SERVICES
Governor McDonnell maintained level funding in his proposed budget. Neither the House nor the Senate has proposed any additional reductions in funding for sexual and domestic violence services. However, the current budget uses one-time fund balances to replace $1.2 million in TANF funding for domestic violence services. These one-time funds will not be available in 2014 or beyond. Thus, $1.2 million in funding for the core services that provide safety for victims of domestic violence and their children remains at risk.
“PEACE BEGINS AT HOME” SPECIALIZE INTEREST LICENSE PLATE
SB 225 (Senator Herring) & HB 182 (Delegate O’Bannon) –SB 225 passed the Senate unanimously & HB 182 was continued to 2013 in the House.
Supported by the Action Alliance. These bills authorize the issuance of revenue-sharing special license plates bearing the legend PEACE BEGINS AT HOME to support the programs of the Domestic Violence Action Alliance for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence in Virginia. HB 182 was not continued in the House because we had not collected 450 pre-paid applications. SB 225 will now be considered by the House and will only pass if we collect 450 pre-paid applications.
ENHANCE THE PROSECUTION OF STRANGULATION
Supported by the Action Alliance. Both of these bills were amended to provide that any person who impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by applying pressure to the person’s neck and resulting in wounding or bodily injury is guilty of strangulation, a Class 6 felony.
There are minor differences between these bills. SB 459 uses the language “willfully, knowingly, intentionally” applying pressure to the person’s neck. HB 752 uses the language “knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully” applying pressure to the neck of such person. The Action Alliance staff will work with the Senator Herring & Delegate Cline to align these two bills.
IMPROVE VIRGINIA’S RESPONSE TO SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
Supported by the Action Alliance. These bills require campus police to enter into mutual aid agreements with a local law-enforcement agency or the State Police for cooperation in providing assistance with the investigation of deaths and alleged rapes occurring on college campuses.
Supported by the Action Alliance. These bills require each attorney for the Commonwealth to invite any chiefs of campus police located within the jurisdiction to the annual SART meeting.
SB 224 (Senator Herring). Passed the Senate unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill provides for a Class 1 misdemeanor for a battery through the application of physical force against a member of a family or household member. This change in law is needed to apply federal firearm prohibitions appropriately to persons convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member. This bill will now be considered by the House.
PROTECT THE SAFETY AND BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILDREN
HB 84 (Delegate Albo)— HB 84 passed the House unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance, as amended. The bill was amended and no longer creates a presumption for joint custody. Instead, it requires judge’s to communicate the basis for their decision regarding custody or visitation and to communicate the relevant statutory factors used to determine the best interests of the child when making the decision. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
HB 606 (Delegate LeMunyon)— HB 606 was defeated.
Opposed by the Action Alliance. Establishes a presumption in child custody cases that an award of joint legal custody, with physical custody, to the extent feasible, shared equally between the parties, is in the best interests of the child.
ADVANCE VIRGINIA’S PROTECTIVE ORDER LAWS
Supported by the Action Alliance. These bills allow Circuit Court to hear petitions to modify, dissolve, or extend a permanent protective order when the Circuit Court issued the order. The bill also requires the Court to enter and transfer identifying information to the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) system when a protective order is issued. Circuit court clerks who are not currently using the Statewide Case Management System shall provide protective orders directly to the Virginia Criminal Information Network in an electronic format approved by the Department of State Police. This bill seeks to align the process and procedures for protective orders issued in Circuit Court with those currently in place for the Juvenile & Domestic Relations and General District Court.
SB 300 (Senator Howell)— SB 300 passed the Senate unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill makes various changes to the provisions governing protective orders issued by a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, including (i) clarifying that only violations related to trespass, criminal offenses, acts of abuse, or prohibited contacts are Class 1 misdemeanors; (ii) clarifying that Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts have jurisdiction over all protective orders that involve juveniles who are petitioners or respondents; and (iii) allowing judges to prohibit contact between the respondent and the petitioner’s family. This bill will now be considered by the House.
HB 674 (Delegate Surovell)—HB 674 was defeated in House Courts.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill would have addressed several issues regarding protective orders and minors, including (i) providing that a minor may petition for an emergency protective order on his own behalf without a parent, legal guardian, or another adult acting as a next friend; and ii) providing that any adult may petition in the name of a minor as the minor’s next friend for a preliminary and/or permanent protective order. These provisions would have codified existing case law and are consistent with the Attorney General’s Opinion (10-116) issued in January 2011.
PRESERVE ACCESS TO SERVICES REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS
HB 958 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House
Opposed by the Action Alliance. This bill Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring inquiries of everyone arrested, and requires that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he (i) was born in a country other than the United States and (ii) is a citizen of a country other than the United States. This bill incorporates HB 89 and HB 320. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
HB 1060 (Delegate Anderson)—Passed the House
Opposed by the Action Alliance. This bill Supplements the existing law that requires sheriffs to make a query into legal presence when a person is “taken into custody” at a jail. This bill expands such inquiries by requiring that an arresting officer inquire of every arrestee whether he is in the country legally. The bill further provides that when a law-enforcement officer believes that the person is not legally present in the United States, he shall communicate to the judicial officer the facts and circumstances underlying his belief. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
HB 1001 (Delegate Ramadan)—Passed the House
Opposed by the Action Alliance. This bill provides that the Superintendent of State Police shall seek to enter into a memorandum of agreement with United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as authorized under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g), to permit the State Police to perform federal immigration law-enforcement functions in the Commonwealth after arrest of an alien. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
SB 460 (Senator Black)—Defeated in Senate Courts.
Opposed by the Action Alliance. This bill would have provided that when a law-enforcement officer lawfully detains a person following a lawful stop, detention, or arrest of such person for a suspected criminal offense or traffic infraction or upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and, during the detention, based upon certain prescribed inquiries of the detainee and ICE, the officer forms a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, the officer shall make a reasonable effort during the detention, when practicable, to determine whether the person is lawfully present, unless the determination would hinder or obstruct an investigation. The bill would have also sets out procedures to be followed by a judicial officer who would make a bail determination for such an arrestee.
HB 361 (Delegate McClellan)—Defeated in House Appropriations.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill would have provided that a second or subsequent offense of stalking is a Class 6 felony. Currently, the enhanced penalty applies for a third or subsequent offense. The bill also provides that stalking when a protective order is in effect is a Class 6 felony.
HB 807 (Delegate May)—Passed the House
Supported by the Action Alliance. Provides that any person who uses an electronic tracking device through intentionally deceptive means and without consent to track the location of another person is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. The bill includes exceptions for law-enforcement officers, the parent or legal guardian of a minor or any person authorized by the parent or legal guardian as a caretaker of the minor at any time when the minor is under the person’s sole care; a legally authorized representative of an incapacitated adult, private investigators in certain circumstances, bail bondsmen, and the owners of fleet vehicles. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
HB 963 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill provides that any person who commands, entreats, or otherwise attempts to persuade another person to send, submit, transfer, or provide to him any child pornography in order to gain entry into a group, association, or assembly of persons engaged in trading or sharing child pornography shall be punished by not less than five years nor more than 20 years in a state correctional facility, with a five-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for a second or subsequent violation. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
HB 964 (Delegate Rob Bell)—Passed the House unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance. The bill provides that any person who displays child pornography or a grooming video or materials to a minor is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The bill defines grooming video or materials as (i) a cartoon, animation, image, or series of images depicting a child engaged in a sex act when the minor to whom the material is displayed is less than 13 years of age. This bill will now be considered by the Senate.
SB 205 (Senator Barker)—Passed the Senate unanimously.
Supported by the Action Alliance. This bill allows the collection of forensic evidence in cases of suspected sexual assault where the alleged victim may not be legally capable of giving consent.
This bill will now be considered by the House.
Gena M. Boyle, MPA
Domestic Violence Advocacy Coordinator
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance