Crime Victim Services Division Legislative Highlights
A summary of legislation that impacts the Crime Victim Services Division:
SB 157 – Relating to the definition of criminally injurious conduct for purposes of the Crime Victims' Compensation Act.
- Amends Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 56.32
- Adds Reckless Driving, Deadly Conduct and Passing an Authorized Vehicle to the definition of crimes eligible for CVC benefits.
Effective Date: September 1, 2007
HB 1042 – Relating to excepting certain crime victim information from required disclosure under the Public Information law.
- Amends Government Code, Section 552.132.
- Makes victim and claimant information confidential under the Public Information Act.
- CVSD application will NO LONGER need the "election" form, and new application omits the election form page
- Still subject to disclosure: name of victim or claimant, date of award, and amount of award.
Effective Date: September 1, 2007
SB 1580 - Relating to the provision of pay telephone service to inmates confined in facilities operated by TDCJ.
- Authorizes a restricted-use telephone system for eligible inmates in state correctional facilities. The inmate must furnish a call list to be pre-approved by TDCJ.
- Revenue for CVC Fund – the first $10 million in annual revenue goes to the Fund; anything over $10 million is split 50-50 with General Revenue Fund.
Effective Date: May 15, 2007
SB 74 – Relating to the confidentiality of certain information regarding victims of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including the creation of an Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).
- Creates a new Subchapter "C" in Chapter 56 and amends Chapter 57, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
- CVSD will receive victims' mail, repackage the mail, forward only the first class mail to the victims' confidential residential address.
- Separate application from Compensation Program.
- Applicants will apply at the local level with assistance from law enforcement, District Attorney, and/or Family Violence shelters.
- OAG must implement ACP by June 1, 2008 to implement the ACP.
- SB 74 requires the OAG to develop a pseudonym form for victims of family violence by October 1, 2007. (see related article in this newsletter).
HB 1751 – Relating to the imposition and use of a fee on certain sexually oriented businesses (SOBs) and certain programs for the prevention of sexual assault.
- Owners of SOBs are assessed a fee of $5 for each person who enters the business.
- Up to $25 million per biennium in new revenue for OAG Grant Programs, including sexual violence awareness & prevention campaigns, grants for equipment (Colposcopes) for SANEs, grants for victim assistance coordinators, grants to support technology in rape crisis centers, grants to increase the level of sexual assault services in Texas, and grants for legal assistance to sexual assault survivors.
- Creation of Sexual Assault Advisory Council by OAG to research various issues regarding sexual assault victim services in Texas, to provide reports and recommendations to the 81st Legislature.
- OAG is directed to have a third-party conduct a report identifying the number of SOBs in Texas, the impact on local communities, and recommendations for regulating the industry.
Advice for Advocates:
Protecting Teen Victims
New Crime Victims' Compensation Application
Putting an End to Teen Dating Violence
Dating Violence in Schools: What You Can Do
Expect Respect: Taking an Ecological Approach to Prevention
Bexar County Family Justice Center
Pseudonym Form for Victims of Family Violence
Office on Violence Against Women
One Teen's Experience Escaping Abuse
Texas Teen Page
Helping Teen Victims of Crime
Tools for Helping Texas Teens in a Nutshell