JEFFERSON CITY – Governor Jay Nixon today signed Senate Bill 921, which strengthens the rights of crime victims and also directs public colleges and universities to work with law enforcement on policies addressing sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking. The legislation was one of four bills the Governor announced he had signed this afternoon, along with one veto.
“The cooperation between colleges and universities and law enforcement agencies will ensure there are policies in place to provide guidance for handling these cases,” Gov. Nixon said. “I appreciate the General Assembly taking this action to help our students and to expand the rights of crime victims.”
Senate Bill 921 directs Missouri’s public colleges and universities to enter into a memorandum of understanding with local law enforcement agencies that addresses sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking incidents involving students. The new law also designates February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. In addition, Senate Bill 921 adds sexual offenses and domestic assaults to the list of crimes that victims must be afforded automatic rights under the law. Those rights include notification of the defendant’s hearing dates, release on bond, and escape. The bill also expands the range of mental health services counseling covered by the crime victims’ compensation law.
The Governor also today signed:
- House Bill 1649, which provides immunity for civil liability for those who, in good faith, help children trapped in motor vehicles;
- House Bill 1550, which creates a more equalized approach to child custody and visitation, and makes court proceedings more accessible in cases of violation of court custody/visitation orders; and
- House Bill 1599, which permits adoptees to obtain a copy of their sealed, original birth certificate and to obtain medical information. Those birth certificates currently can be obtained only by court order. The bill makes provisions for obtaining the consent of the birth parents.
In addition to the bills that were signed, Gov. Nixon also vetoed House Bill 1976, which makes several changes to state law covering motor vehicle extended service contracts. Although some of the changes are intended to benefit consumers, the Governor said another provision would harm consumers who cancel their contracts by allowing contract providers to avoid paying refunds directly to those consumers.
The Governor’s veto letter can be found here.