Holden’s Bill to Help Fund Domestic Violence Shelters Passes First Senate Committee

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

AB 139 – Domestic Violence Fees - A Technicality that Makes a Difference

Sacramento – Assemblymember Chris Holden’s AB 139 to strengthen penalties that abusers are required to pay to ensure that more funding is available to Domestic Violence Shelters was unanimously approved today in Senate Public Safety.

AB 139 clears up a technicality in order to provide more funds for local domestic violence shelters. The bill stipulates that the $500 payment imposed upon every individual who is granted probation for a crime of domestic violence is a fee, and not a fine. This clarification is important because the probationer’s fee strengthens the programs available for survivors and their children.

“Fully funding domestic violence shelters is critical and that’s what this bill is all about,” said Assemblymember Holden.  “AB 139 would assist courts and counties with disbursing funds generated by these fees to local shelters that provide life-saving services for women fleeing abuse.”

“AB 139 will ensure that California domestic violence shelters get the funding they need to serve their communities’ public safety needs” said California Partnership executive director Tara Shabazz. “Every dollar of domestic violence fees money that’s withheld, or that counties fail to collect, is a dollar we could be using to protect victims and keep families safe. We thank Assemblymember Holden for his leadership on this critical issue.”

The bill came out of a California 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.

CONTACT: Wendy Gordon, 626.351-1917