Gov. Haley Barbour signed two bills addressing issues of domestic violence into law this session, both of which drafted by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood.
The first, Senate Bill 2925, exempts victims of stalking and sexual assault who are not in a relationship with their assailant, from paying court filing fees. Signed by the governor on March 20, this is "an important measure to ensure that thee victims have access to the courts without a financial barrier," according to a release from Hood's office.
The governor signed House Bill 883 March 23. That bill clarifies aspects of current domestic violence laws and provides funding for the attorney general's Domestic Violence Division.
"The state funding will not only increase the amount of training we are able to do for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges and other court personnel, but it will also make our office less dependent on continued federal funding for salaries," Hood said in the statemtn. "As a result, we will be able to use any available federal funds to help expand other projects."
Amendments to current law HB 883 require offenders to appear before a judge prior to getting bail, include as victims children living in a home where abuse occurs, and clarify when police must make a warrantless arrest, filing a complaint on behalf of a victim who may be intimidated into dropping charges.
"Placing this affirmative requirement on law enforcement officers making an arrest makes good sense for the safety of the victims," Hood said.
Hood also applauded legislators and the governor in his March 26 statement.
"These measures are just one more step we can take to protect Mississippi victims," Hood said.
So... now the police can file a complaint on behalf of someone who won't? I thought they could do that already. Still, it's a nice bill.
This is a very good bill. No women show have to fear for her safety because she did not have the money to file restraining orders. I hope next time that they pass a bill that allows law enforcement to beat their butts if the ever hit a women!!!
- Tony Davis