U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today attended the official bill signing of the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act. Klobuchar helped lead the effort to pass the bill in the Senate earlier this month, and all 20 women senators voted for the legislation. The bill, signed into law by the President today, will continue to help law enforcement combat domestic violence across the nation. It alsoincludes 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. "We worked hard to pass the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate and I was honored to be there today to see this legislation become the law of the land. I will continue to work to make sure law enforcement have the tools they need to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and help victims receive the support they deserve to get back on their feet."
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 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 Current federal anti-stalking laws are outdated and may not effectively cover all acts of electronic surveillance and other means of stalking, including spyware, bugging, video surveillance, and other new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.