The Senate Judiciary C Committee advanced Rep. John Schroder's HB499 and HB509 to the full senate in unanimous votes on Tuesday morning. HB499 was approved without amendments and is now one step away from final passage. HB509 was amended in the committee, meaning it will have to return to the House for concurrence if it is approved by the full Senate.
Schroder, who was joined by domestic violence opponents in the committee room, was thrilled with the committee's swift approval of his bills.
"I'm just happy that they passed," Schroder says.
HB499 deals with the crime of stalking. The bill would eliminate an exemption for private investigators, which essentially allows a stalker to hire a private investigator to follow a person on their behalf.
HB509 involves protective orders and the violations of them. A second violation of a protective order could result in a14-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine under Schroder's bill. If violence was involved in the violation, the jail sentence would be a minimum of 90 days.
The committee amended the bill to allow courts to bar communications between the offender and the victim. Schroder's bill calls for the ban to be mandatory. Because of that one-word change, the bill will have to head back to the House for concurrence if it clears the Senate. It will probably not come up for a vote until after Memorial Day.
Because HB499 was not amended, it can go to the governor's desk for signature if it makes it through the full Senate without amendment.
Schroder used two of his five non-fiscal allotment of bills to address these aspects of domestic violence because of his exposure to the issue in his work as a military police officer earlier in his life and because a member of his family was a domestic violence victim.
"I believe men need to stand up and put a stop to this," the Covington lawmaker told The Independent in an interview about his bills earlier in the session.