LePage signs two more bills aimed at protecting domestic violence victims

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted April 17, 2012, at 3:08 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage signed two more bills related to domestic violence into law on Tuesday morning.

LD 1867, a governor’s bill sponsored by Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, and LD 1760, sponsored by Rep. Alan Casavant, D-Biddeford, were signed by the governor in the Hall of Flags.

“Stemming the tide of domestic violence in our state is a bipartisan priority,” Cain said in a statement Tuesday. “The legislation the governor signed into law today is an important first step. We must also work together on comprehensive domestic violence prevention resources and treatment for battered women and their families.”

LD 1867 requires a judge to set bail conditions for someone accused of a domestic violence crime instead of a bail commissioner in certain cases.

LD 1760 will ensure that jails notify victims directly when their accused abuser is released on pre-conviction bail or if the person is released on bail before being delivered to jail.

“This bill delivers much needed clarity at the state and county levels regarding the responsibilities and process of victim notification,” Casavant said in a statement. “When it comes to protecting the lives of victims, we have no room for any error in alerting the victims. We must do a better job in securing the safety of victims of domestic violence and this bill is one piece of that puzzle.”

Last Thursday, LePage signed LD 1841, sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport. The law prohibits a court from waiving the $25 assessment on a person convicted of murder or a Class A, B or C crime and $10 on a person convicted of a Class D or E crime. Those assessments are used for the Victims’ Compensation Fund.

“It provides financial reimbursement for lots of suffering by victims of violent crimes throughout the state of Maine,” LePage said Thursday. “Currently, in many cases, these [assessments] are waived. Frankly, some of the people abused in this state will go on having scars for the rest of their lives, both emotionally and physically. I don’t believe $25 should ever be waived. I don’t believe we ought to give breaks to abusers.”

LD 1760, which is an emergency bill, takes effect immediately. The other two bills, LD 1841 and LD 1867, will take effect after the Legislature adjourns.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/17/politics/lepage-signs-two-more-bills-aimed-at-protecting-domestic-violence-victims/ printed on December 18, 2014