Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today announced that bipartisan legislation she cosponsored to combat domestic violence passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a vote of 286 to 138. TheViolence Against Women Act includes Klobuchar’s provision to strengthen federal stalking laws and help law enforcement more effectively target high-tech predators. Klobuchar helped lead the effort to pass the bill in the Senate earlier this month, and all 20 women senators voted for the legislation.
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand how domestic violence can destroy lives and tear apart families,” Klobuchar said. “We worked hard to pass the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate and I’m pleased that this critical legislation will soon become the law of the land, helping to ensure victims and their families have the support they deserve and law enforcement has the tools they need to help put an end to these horrible crimes.”
The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization contains many important changes to the current law, such as consolidating duplicative programs and streamlining others; providing greater flexibility for how communities utilize resources; and includes new training requirements for people providing legal assistance to victims. The Senate passed similar legislation last Congress, but the House of Representatives did not vote on the bill.
The legislation also includes a provision similar to bipartisan legislation Klobuchar and former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced called theStalkers Act. Their bill would strengthen and update federal anti-stalking laws to better address the new technology predators are using to harass their victims. Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new technology used by modern-day stalkers. Klobuchar’s and Hutchison’s provision empowers law enforcement to prosecute any act of stalking that would “reasonably be expected” to cause a person serious emotional distress. ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, a victim of high-tech stalking, has previously joined Klobuchar to call for stronger federal anti-stalking laws.