Senate Approves Holden Bill To Help Fund Domestic Violence Shelters

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sacramento – Assemblymember Chris Holden’s AB 139 to strengthen penalties that abusers are required to pay to ensure more funding for Domestic Violence Shelters, passed the Senate today on a unanimous vote. 

“The nation’s first modern, women's shelter opened in my district in Pasadena, in 1964. Forty-nine years later, Haven House continues to provide a refuge for women and children who have been physically and emotionally abused,” said Assemblymember Holden (D-Pasadena). “That’s why I believe this bill is so important - fully funding of domestic violence shelters is critical and provides a safety net for those who live in fear.”

AB 139 clears up a technicality in order to provide more funds for local domestic violence shelters. The bill stipulates that those convicted of domestic violence must pay a minimum $500 fee – not a fine – after they are granted probation. This clarification is important because it would clear up confusion over the $500 payment and ensure funding for local domestic violence programs.

The bill derived from a 2012 State Audit conducted over four years that analyzed the distribution of payments used to support domestic violence shelters. The report revealed that many counties left a significant portion of payments uncollected due to the confusion about whether the payments were classified as fees or fines.

California Partnership to End Domestic Violence worked closely with Holden’s office on this legislation:  “We are delighted with the unanimous Senate passage of AB 139,” said California Partnership interim executive director Kathy Moore. “This bill will ensure that the Legislature’s intent to use these fees to support domestic violence agencies is carried out. We are very grateful to Assemblymember Holden for his leadership on this important issue.”

AB 139 goes back to the Assembly floor in August for concurrence on changes in language.