State Legislation Watch

With my involvement with the re-viving of “Laura’s Law,” I have found some other interesting pending legislation that would be in the realm of “must watch,” as they deal with aspects of domestic abuse.

Also, being a DV advocate, it’s good to keep tabs on such things. I am reporting for my state of Indiana; however, if you are an “interested party” and a resident of another state, all states have to, by law, make the legislation process transparent. The legislation featured on found on my state’s government website, so you should be able to do the same.

Here’s a synopsis of what legislation I am watching, so you don’t have to dissect my slideshow. Also, SB stands for [State] Senate Bill, and HB stands for [State] House Bill:

SB 70 – Obstruction of justice. Provides that a person commits obstruction of justice, as a Level 5 felony, if, during the investigation or pendency of a domestic violence or child abuse case a person knowingly or intentionally communicates, directly or indirectly, with any witness to abstain from attending or giving testimony, including giving untruthful testimony, at any hearing, trial, deposition, taped statement, probation, or other criminal proceeding or from giving testimony or other statements, including giving untruthful testimony, to a court or law enforcement officer. Provides that the offense of obstruction of justice, as a Level 5 felony, applies to an attorney. (Under current law, an attorney is exempt from prosecution for the offense of obstruction of justice, as a Level 5 felony.)

SB 87 – Compensation for victims of violent crime. Changes, for purposes of the law concerning compensation to victims of violent crime, the definition of “claimant” to include certain family members of a victim. Expands the list of expenses eligible for compensation to include crime scene cleanup and replacement windows or door locks.

SB 132 – Wrongful death. Requires that a policy or certificate of life insurance pay the estate of an insured individual’s spouse if the spouse would have been entitled to the proceeds of the insured individual’s life insurance policy and the spouse was intentionally killed by the insured individual. Includes a married individual who does not have any dependents and whose death was caused by a spouse within the definition of “adult person” for the purpose of a wrongful death action.

SB 143 – Self-defense. Specifies that “reasonable force” includes the pointing of a loaded or unloaded firearm for purposes of self-defense and arrest statutes.

SB 155 – Human trafficking. Modifies the definition of “protected person” for purposes of the admission of a statement or videotape of an individual who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the offense but less than 18 years of age at the time of trial. Removes the requirement that money paid for a human trafficking victim or for an act performed by a human trafficking victim be paid to a third party. Increases the penalty for human trafficking to a Level 4 felony. Specifies that consent by the human trafficking victim is not a defense to a prosecution. Requires law enforcement agencies to report human trafficking investigations to the attorney general within 30 days after an investigation begins.

HB 1038 – Arrest warrants for alleged domestic violence. Provides that if a court denies a request for an arrest warrant involving a crime of domestic violence, a prosecuting attorney may petition the court to hold an ex parte hearing to present additional evidence to establish probable cause. Requires a court to set the ex parte hearing within 24 hours after the petition is filed. Provides that if a court denies a request for an arrest warrant after the ex parte hearing and issues a summons for the defendant, certain notice of the summons to the victim is required. Requires the service of summons on a defendant concerning an alleged crime of domestic violence to be served by a law enforcement officer. Requires a bail hearing if a person is charged with a crime of domestic violence. Enhances the penalty for invasion of privacy to a Level 6 felony if a person violates a no contact order that was issued as a condition of probation or a bond. Enhances the penalty for domestic battery to a Level 6 felony if a person has a previous unrelated conviction of domestic battery. Provides that bail must be revoked for a defendant charged with a crime of domestic violence who violates a no contact order while on bail and who is subsequently charged with invasion of privacy or a subsequent crime of domestic violence. Also respectfully known as “Laura’s Law.”

HB 1079 – Elements of rape. Provides that a person commits rape if: (1) the person engages in sexual activity with another person and the other person submits to the sexual activity under the belief that the person committing the act is someone the victim knows, other than the person committing the act, and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the person; or (2) the person engages in sexual activity with another person and the other person has expressed a lack of consent, through words or conduct, to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct.

HB 1081 – Human trafficking. Provides that confidential reports and other material involving a report or investigation of child abuse and neglect shall be made available to a staff member of a child advocacy center. Defines “child advocacy center”. Modifies the definition of “protected person” for purposes of the admission of a statement or videotape of an individual who is less than 14 years of age at the time of the offense but less than 18 years of age at the time of trial. Removes the requirement that money paid for a human trafficking victim or for an act performed by a human trafficking victim be paid to a third party. Increases the penalty if the human trafficking victim is less than 18 years of age. Specifies that: (1) consent by the human trafficking victim; or (2) a belief that the human trafficking victim was at least 18 years of age; is not a defense to a prosecution. Requires law enforcement agencies to report human trafficking investigations to the attorney general within 30 days after an investigation begins.

HB 1091 – Sex offenses and human trafficking hotline notice. Requires certain businesses to post a notice with human trafficking hotline information in each public restroom of the business and in a conspicuous place near the public entrance or in another conspicuous location of the business in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted. Provides that a business owner who fails to comply with the human trafficking hotline notice requirement commits a Class C misdemeanor. Requires the Indiana criminal justice institute to administer the human trafficking hotline notice requirement. Requires every governmental entity, on the home page of its web site, to provide an identified hyperlink to the model human trafficking hotline notice that is on the Indiana criminal justice institute’s web site. Provides that when a person seeking treatment as a victim arrives at an examination facility, the provider shall comply with certain requirements prior to commencing a forensic medical examination.

Stay vigilant, my friends!

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