U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today called for immediate action on bipartisan legislation to help fight domestic violence as the new Congress begins. This week Klobuchar cosponsored the re-introduction of legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which would continue to help law enforcement combat domestic violence across the nation. The legislation, which passed the Senate in April of last year with bipartisan support, did not receive a vote in the House of Representatives in the previous Congress.
"I worked hard last year to pass bipartisan legislation to give law enforcement the tools they need to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and ensure victims receive the support they deserve,"Klobuchar said. "We cannot wait any longer to get this done, and I urge my colleagues to come together and take immediate action to pass this bipartisan bill, and I will continue to fight to ensure that we have the best laws and the best public policies to stop domestic violence and to help the victims, the survivors and their families."
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 former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced last 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 Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new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 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.