WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today announced that bipartisan legislation she cosponsored to fight domestic violence passed the U.S. Senate today by a vote of 78 to 22. During a press conference following the bill’s passage, Klobuchar highlighted the critical need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which would continue to help law enforcement combat domestic violence across the nation, and called on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass the bill. The legislation includes Klobuchar’s provision to strengthen federal stalking laws and help law enforcement more effectively target high-tech predators.
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand how domestic violence can destroy lives and tear apart families,” Klobuchar said. “The Senate has come together again this Congress to pass this bipartisan bill, and now it is time for the House to finally take action and give victims and families the support they need and deserve.”
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 Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new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.