We have compiled a partial list of legislative measures that impact the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund and our constituents. We appreciate the work of the Legislature, our advisory council members, our partners, and all the advocates whose goal is to ensure solvency of the Fund and improve victim assistance.
Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund Legislation
HB 1489 (Turner/Williams) – Relating to purposes for which money in the compensation to victims of crime fund may be used. Effective 9/1/05.
This bill amends Article 56.541(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure by eliminating the 120 percent multiplier (reserve) for compensation claims paid out of the Fund. The reserve makes additional CVC funds available for other programs that deliver or provide victim-related services or assistance.
In addition, the bill adds a definition for "victim-related services or assistance" as found in 56.32(a)(13), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
"Victim-related services or assistance" means compensation, services, or assistance provided directly to a victim or claimant for the purpose of supporting or assisting the recovery of the victim or claimant from the consequences of criminally injurious conduct.
Finally, the bill amends the definition of "victim" as found in 56.01(3) , Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
"Victim" means a person who is the victim of sexual assault, kidnaping, or aggravated robbery or who has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another.
HB 1751 (Pena/Whitmire) - Relating to the procedures governing the payment of restitution by criminal defendants. Effective 9/1/05.
This bill amends the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to emphasize that courts can order the defendant to repay the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund in those cases where the fund has paid compensation to the victim.
Article 42.037(a): In addition to any fine authorized by law, the court that sentences a defendant convicted of an offense may order the defendant to make restitution to any victim of the offense or to the compensation to victims of crime fund established under Subchapter B, Chapter 56, to the extent that fund has paid compensation to or on behalf of the victim.
The bill also allows a court to assess a $12 fee for the administration of restitution when payments are made in installments; $6 of the fee is directed to the Fund and $6 is directed to the court.
Article 42.037(g) (1), Code of Criminal Procedure: The court may require a defendant to make restitution under this article within a specified period or in specified installments. If the court requires the defendant to make restitution in specified installments, in addition to the installment payments, the court may require the defendant to pay a one-time restitution fee of $12, $6 of which the court shall retain for costs incurred in collecting the specified installments and $6 of which the court shall order to be paid to the compensation to victims of crime fund.
The bill also provides for a one-time payment ($50 for misdemeanors, $100 for felonies) to the Fund (instead of general revenue) in lieu of court-ordered restitution.
Article 42.12, Section 11(a)(18), Code of Criminal Procedure: If no reimbursement is required, make one payment to the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund in an amount not to exceed $50 if the offense is a misdemeanor, or not to exceed $100 if the offense is a felony;
HB 2823 (Rose/Madla) – Relating to the form of payments made to certain disabled peace officers under the Crime Victims' Compensation Act. Effective 6/17/05.
This bill allows peace officers who are eligible to receive payments as a disabled peace officer under 56.542(b) Code of Criminal Procedure to choose the terms of payment as either a single payment paid each year or equal monthly installments.
SB 1863 (Ogden/Pitts) - Relating to certain fiscal matters affecting governmental entities. Effective 8/29/05.
- Section 10.01 of the bill creates the Collection Improvement Program, administered by the Office of Court Administration.
- The goal of the program is to enhance the collection efforts for unpaid court costs, fees, and fines [such as those that to the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund] throughout the state, currently estimated at $465,000,000.
- The bill requires cities with populations of 100,000 or more, and counties with populations of 50,000 or more, to implement collections improvement programs based in part on the Office of Court Administration's Model Court Collections Program.
Sexual Assault Legislation
HB 308 (Hope/Staples) – Relating to discipline in public schools and the assignment of certain public school students involved in a sexual assault. Effective 6/18/05.
This bill amends Chapter 25, Education Code by stating that a student convicted of sexual assault is not allowed to enroll in the same school as the offender's victim.
HB 544 (Naishtat/Zaffirini) – Relating to the right of certain sexual assault victims to a forensic medical exam. Effective 9/1/05.
This bill amends Chapter 56.02, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The victim of a sexual assault has the right to a forensic medical exam if the victim reported the sexual assault to a law enforcement agency within 96 hours of the assault, unless the victim has made one or more false reports of sexual assault.
The bill also amends Chapter 56.06(a), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:
If a sexual assault is reported to a law enforcement agency within 96 hours of the assault, the law enforcement agency, with the consent of the victim, a person authorized to act on behalf of the victim, or an employee of the Department of Family and Protective Services, shall request a medical examination of the victim of the alleged assault for use in the investigation or prosecution of the offense.
HB 546 (Bailey/Whitmire) - Relating to certain medical examination requirements in connection with an allegation of sexual assault of a child. Effective 5/27/05.
This bill amends Chapter 420, Texas Government Code, by adding Section 420.032, addressing the need for photo documentation in cases of child sexual assault by requiring photo documentation for child victims in a county with a population of three million or more.
Section 420.032 (b): In a county with a population of three million or more, the forensic portion of a medical examination of a child alleged to be the victim of a sexual assault must include the production of photo documentation unless the medical professional examining the child determines that good cause for refraining from producing photo documentation exists.
HB 677 (Thompson/Wentworth) – Relating to emergency services for sexual assault survivors. This bill amends Subtitle G, Title 4, Health & Safety Code, adding Chapter 322. Effective 9/1/05.
- This bill allows the Department of State Health Services to request that a hospital submit a plan for providing emergency services for sexual assault patients.
- The bill requires the Department to develop an information form for survivors that includes certain explanations regarding examination and treatment and establishes minimum standards for a health care facility providing emergency services.
SB 1126 (Hinojosa/Escobar) – Relating to the confidentiality of records regarding sexual assault victims. Effective 9/1/05.
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Crisis Services Program in the Attorney General's Office was transferred from the Texas Department of Health to the OAG in 1997 via HB 2561 (75th Legislature). This bill reflects that change.
Domestic Violence/Family Violence Legislation
HB 1059 (Naishtat/Wentworth) – Relating to the enforcement of certain protective orders. Effective 6/17/05.
- Amends Section 85.005(b), Texas Family Code.
- There are situations in which law enforcement has been hesitant to enforce protective orders (agreed orders) that did not include a finding of family violence. Since agreed protective orders do not include a hearing, some judges may not render a finding.
- This bill clarifies that agreed protective orders are enforceable civilly or criminally.
SB 1186 (Nelson/Guillen) – Relating to the effect that certain orders relating to family violence and certain decisions regarding military service have on residential leases, providing civil penalties. Effective 1/1/2006.
This bill allows a victim of family violence to terminate a residential lease agreement and avoid liability for unpaid rent under certain circumstances:
- Signed Protective order
- Tenant/victim delivers a copy of the order to the landlord
- Tenant has vacated the dwelling
SB 1275 (Jackson/Davis) – Relating to the issuance of certain court orders to protect victims of family violence. Effective 6/17/05.
This bill amends the Texas Family Code (Subchapter E, Chapter 6, adding Section 6.404) so that the court would be required to inform a victim of his or her right to a protective order at anytime during which a suit for dissolution of marriage is pending.
The bill also increases the order's duration when a deadly weapon is involved from no less than the 61st day to no more than the 91st day after the date of issuance.