Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5623

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Vote Date:

3/28/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/23/2016

File No.:

597

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To increase the protections for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

Proposed Substitute LCO#3527 Conforms the human trafficking sections to changes made to HB 5621. Strikes section 30, adds sec. 2 from the Governor's human trafficking bill and amends sections 31 and 32 regarding finding that a child was conceived during an act of sexual assault.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Office of the Victim Advocate, State Victim Advocate Natasha M. Pierre, Esq.: Fully supports the bill's efforts to improve the delivery of services to victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. This proposal, among others, holds offenders accountable, provide tools to the state's attorneys for prosecuting crimes, provides training to professionals and others, and requires the collection of data.

Division of Criminal Justice: Supports the overall intention of the content of the bill, however, opposes certain provisions. Supports Section 25, strengthening the ability of the criminal justice system to convict those preying on teenage victim of sex trafficking. Opposes Section 19, which imposes onerous and unnecessary reporting requirements on each of the State's Attorneys. The way to achieve greater investigative and detection efforts would be through initiatives such as the Connecticut Human Trafficking Task Force. Further, the goal of the reporting requirement provision in this bill is already being achieved through the Trafficking in Persons Council. Additionally, the Division opposes Section 24, which would no longer make it a crime for anyone under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution. This approach is misguided and contrary to the fundamental reason the juvenile justice system exists. The Division requests the deletion of Sections 19 and 24.

Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) Executive Director Carolyn M. Treiss, PCSW Policy Analyst Jillian Gilchrest: Supports this bill. With regard to human trafficking, this bill contains proposals that can help CT move in the right direction. With regard to domestic violence, along with HB 5054, closes the dangerous gap for victims by enabling a judge to order removal of the firearm upon issuance of an ex parte restraining order, when a victim indicates that her abusive partner has firearms, and that those firearms pose a serious safety concern. This bill attempts to balance the liberty interests of gun owners with the safety needs of domestic violence victims. With regard to sexual violence, current law significantly limits a woman's ability to parent her child and heal from sexual violence, this bill addresses these concerns.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Raymond Bechard: Supports this bill, among other bills such as HB 5052 and HB 5621, which provide comprehensive protections to victims of human trafficking.

Brookfield Police Department, Chief of Police Robin L. Montgomery: Supports this bill, specifically Sections 1-17, and HB 5054 which will provide the most comprehensive protection of victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time and strengthen the processes within a system designed to help them.

The Center for Family Justice, Yolanda Mateo: Supports the bill, along with HB 5054 which will provide the most comprehensive protection for victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time and strengthen processes within a system designed to help them.

The Center for Family Justice, Angela Schlingheyde, J.D.: Supports the goal of Sections 1-17 to protect victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time by temporarily removing firearms from their abuser when the abuser has received notice that he or she is the subject of a temporary, ex parte restraining order.

Center for Youth Leadership, Emma Curtin and Amanda Barker: Supports the following elements of the bill: Lines 819 to 822, 855 to 860, 875 to 899, 916 to 927, 931 to 949, 986 to 995, and 1116-1117.

Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence Director of Policy and Public Relations Deb Helnrich: Supports this bill with regard to the following: Termination of parental rights (identical language in HB 5605), Human Trafficking (identical language in HB 5621), Domestic Violence (identical language in HB 5054).

Connecticut Bar Association Human Rights and Responsibilities Section, Chair Barbara Collins, Legislative Liaison Alix Simonetti: Supports this bill along with HB 5621 and HB 5052 which provides a comprehensive set of provisions to monitor, limit and prevent human trafficking. These efforts are critical steps in eliminating human trafficking and effectively addresses the rights and protections of human trafficking victims.

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV): Supports this bill along with HB 5054, providing the most comprehensive protection for victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time, and strengthens the system's process designed to help them.

Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance Policy Associate Mallory LaPierre: Supports this bill, specifically the provision that would raise the age a child can be charged with prostitution from sixteen to eighteen years old, and the intent of the bill recognizing that children engaged in prostitution are victims of sexual exploitation.

Connecticut Voices for Children, Associate Policy Fellow Bianca Rey and Interim Executive Director and Advocacy Director Sharon Langer: Supports this bill because by raising the age of prosecution for prostitution from 16 to 18, this serves as a logical extension of existing state efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking.

Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund, Legal and Public Policy Director Catherine Bailey, Policy Associate Madeline Granato: Supports this bill, providing for taking action against the demand side of prostitution by raising the age in the crime of enticing a minor to 18, and removing the mistake of age defense. This provision will protect victims of human trafficking and halt the continuum of exploitation that has allowed instances of trafficking in CT to steadily increase since 2012.

Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVVC): Supports this bill along with HB 5054 which will strengthen processes within the system designed to help victims of domestic violence.

Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence, Jonathan Perloe: Supports this bill along with HB 5054 and SB 429, improving the state's protection of domestic abuse victims by prohibiting subjects of temporary restraining orders from possessing firearms. Urges the Committee to balance the Second Amendment right with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Interval House, Penni Micca: Supports this bill along with HB 5054 which will strengthen state laws and better protect victims of domestic violence. Victims deserve a system that does everything it can to help keep them safe.

New Haven Legal Assistance Association, Inc. Staff Attorney Aaron P. Wenzloff: Supports this bill along with HB 5054 which will create stronger and more effective protections for victims of domestic violence. Proposes recommendations that 1) state marshals be specifically required to inform applicants when they have made successful service of a TRO, 2) data collection by State Marshall Commission about rates and methods of service of process around the state, and 3) TRO applicants be given an opportunity to request more than one postponement of a hearing if service of process has not been made, for good cause shown.

New Horizons Domestic Violence Services, Community Educator/Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Shaunna Cullen: Supports the goal of Sections 1-17 of this bill, providing protections for the victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time by temporarily removing firearms from their abuser when the abuser has received notice that he or she is the subject of a temporary restraining order.

Safe Futures of Southeastern Connecticut: Supports Sections 1-17 of this bill which will protect victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time by temporarily removing firearms from their abuser when they have received notice that they are subject to temporary, ex-parte restraining order.

Shira Tarantino, Stamford CT: Supports this bill because the benefits outweigh the risks.

Tara Veith, Fairfield CT: Supports this bill and urges the Committee to “Do the right thing.”

Women's Center of Greater Danbury Legislative Liaison and Director of Education, Training, and Outreach Ann Rodwell-Lawton: Supports this bill along with HB 5054, and the goal of Sections 1-17 to protect victims of domestic violence at the most dangerous time by temporarily removing firearms from their abuser when the abuser has received notice that he or she is the subject of a temporary, ex parte restraining order.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Ray Bevis, Wolcott CT: Opposes the ex parte TRO provision in this bill. This bill will disarm true domestic violence victims of their firearms, the same firearm they sought out to protect themselves.

John Buckley and Linda Buckley, New Britain CT: Oppose this bill because it will violate “Due Process” without the opportunity for a hearing prior to the forced surrender of firearms.

Mike Burke, Andover CT: Opposes this bill challenging the tenet of due process.

Robert Chambers, Stratford CT: Opposes this bill which will create more victims based on hearsay.

Brooke Cheney, Harwinton, CT: Opposes this bill because it assumes that majority of gun owners fit into the negative stereotype that, among others, gun owners are scary, and are out to intimidate others. Non-violence cannot be legislated.

Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen: Opposes this bill and requests the Committee to remove lines 1-806. Much of the bill removes the constitutional protections guaranteed by the CT and U.S. Constitutions, specifically due process, Second, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments

William D. Curlew, Windsor CT: Opposes this bill which denies the accused of their 2nd Amendment right.

Glen Fettes, Milford CT: Opposes this bill which strips away a person's Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Glenn Frank, Haddam CT: Opposes this bill which removes a person's Constitutional right to Due Process.

Roy Downey, Higganum CT: Opposes the ex parte TRO provision of this bill infringing on a respondent's fundamental Constitutional right to due process.

William G. Hillman, Bethel CT: Opposes this bill which ignores due process, while there are laws currently in place to address the issue.

Daniel J. Kearney, East Hampton CT: Opposes this bill denying the respondent their right to due process, and their right to keep and bear arms.

William Knapp, Chief of Police (Ret.), Wethersfield CT: Opposes this bill because it is “unfair” and “un-American.”

National Rifle Association of America, Connecticut State Liaison Christopher G. Kopacki, Ph.D.: Opposes this bill which is a gun control bill intended to remove firearms from people without due process of law. The intent of this bill is to strip away Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fifth Amendment rights of Connecticut citizens. This bill could be used to unjustly disarm law-abiding people.

Mike Ninteau, Lebanon CT: Opposes this bill which is a veiled attempt to remove “my natural rights.”

James Ritchie, Bristol CT: Opposes this bill which takes away a person's natural right of protection without a hearing, without criminal charges, without a police report, and without “due process.”

Holly Sanady, Southbury CT: Opposes this bill which infringes on a person's right to due process.

The following individuals submitted written testimony expressing “opposition”

Ken Arant, Nick Amoratis, Kurt Asplund, Arthur Barstis, Roy Barber,Timothy Begin, Fred M. Belinsky, Adam Blackman, Donald Borsch Jr., Justin Bradley, Peter Brown, Capt. William Brown, Michael Brzoska, Lori Brzoska, Kevin Carrier, Brad Charles, Craig Criswell, Scott Crittenden, Arthur Daigle, Patrick Dingman, Robert Dingman, Garnet Drakiotes, James, E. Franklin, Deborah Furletti, Martin Garcia, Cheryl K. Graham, Jim Griffin, Walter Hagedorn, Jeffrey C. Hall, Erik Hansen, Robin Henchcliffe, Edward Honnen, John Horbal, William Keller, Russell E. Kieslich Jr., Stephen Kennedy, Robert P. Lee, Cheryl Lemos, Marino A. Limauro Jr., Joseph Locke, John Lujic, Ania Macri, Giofranco Macri, Lily Ann Malizia, Tom Maloney, Anthony Piselli Sr., Kyle Potenzlani, Andrew Purchia, Michael Quigley, Kevin Rame, RTF Firearms Training, Abigail Ruiz, Holly Sanady, Michael Scheck, Antonio Simoes, Seth D. Smith, Ken Stein, Bill Stevens, Warren Stevens, Michael Sulkis, Joseph Tampellini, Michael Thibault, John C. Thomas Jr., Adam Tremlett, Robert D. Tworkowski, Jr., Nicole Vacila

Justin Volovski, Kurt Weisheit, Rick Wiese, Mark Wootten, Robert Wildermuth, Michael Yamakawa, Gary Zannotti, John Zebroski

Reported by: Pauleen Consebido, Legal Intern

Date: 4/18/2016