2009-04-08 / Op-Ed

Strengthening domestic violence laws

Legislative Report
By Rep. Tom Saviello District 90

In the last year, I have become keenly aware of a significant problem in our area: Domestic Violence. This is a case where a family member does not respect the individual they are married or related to. Now I need to be careful. All of us on occasion loose our temper and get angry at a spouse or a family member. These laws are not for this. Fortunately, in Maine we have laws that help protect domestic violence victims, but they do need to be strengthened.

This year there are at least four different bills that could be before us to do just that.

The first one is LD 324 "An Act to Allow Limited Informational Sharing in Domestic Violence Cases." This bill would allow law enforcement agencies to share investigative reports with family violence projects and other programs that provide services to the victims.

The second bill is LD 567 "An Act to Provide Increased Protection for a Victim of Domestic Violence." This bill adds more protections for the victim. It includes requiring the perpetrator to wear an electronic monitoring device. This will give assurance to the victim that they are safe. It should also be noted that the perpetrator pays 100 percent for this device as a condition of parole.

The third bill is LD 326 "An Act to Allow the Request for and Granting of Permanent Protection from Abuse Orders." This bill would allow a person to request a permanent protection from abuse order from the court; this bill also allows the court to issue such an order.

The last bill, LD 690 "An Act Concerning Domestic Violence and Firearms" is still a bit unclear at this time. In essence it would make sure that anyone who used a gun in an act of abuse would no longer have the privilege to own such a weapon again. This is already a federal law.

I am sure everyone knows I support the 2nd amendment of the constitution, the right to bear arms. However, it seems to me when somebody uses a gun incorrectly, and holds it up to another person resulting in abuse they have forfeited their right to bear arms. There still remains much work to be done on this bill. I suspect it will be held over until next year for better information, clarification and discussion. I will have more on these bills in the future.

As always it is my privilege to serve the people of District 90. If you have questions or comments about these bills or anything else, please feel free to contact me at 645-3420 or via email at drtom16@hotmail.com.

Tom Saviello of Wilton represents House District 90: the towns of Avon, New Vineyard, Phillips, Strong, Temple and Wilton, plus the unorganized territories of East Central Franklin and Perkins and Washington townships.

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