WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today called on the House of Representatives to pass critical Senate legislation to stop domestic violence. In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Klobuchar said that it was time for the House to take action and swiftly reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act by passing the Senate version of the bill, so it can head to the President to be signed into law. The legislation, which passed the Senate in April with bipartisan support, would continue to help law enforcement combat domestic violence across the nation.
“I fought hard to pass this bipartisan legislation in the Senate to ensure that law enforcement officers have the tools they need to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and that victims receive the support they deserve to get back on their feet,” Klobuchar said.“It’s time for the House to take action and get this bill across the finish line.”
The Violence Against Women 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 including new training requirements for people providing legal assistance to victims.
The legislation also includes a provision similar to bipartisan legislation Klobuchar and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced earlier this year, 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 Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new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.
Klobuchar also recently led the effort to pass bipartisan legislation, signed into law last year, supporting survivors of sexual assault in the military. The bill ensures long-term preservation of sexual assault victims’ records, which can help veterans seek medical and disability assistance. Klobuchar led the successful effort to gather all 17 women senators as cosponsors of the bill before it became law.