MCVRC’s 2015 Legislative Priorities:
The Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center’s Board of Directors have adopted tentative priorities for the 2015 legislative session. MCVRC will work to identify others that may be supportive of this efforts as well as possible legislative sponsors. They proposed priorities are as follows:
1. Notification rights expansion on cold cases.
Often times, victims including survivors of homicide victims are frustrated because of a lack of information regarding the status of an investigation. As DNA evidence has become important in solving cases, providing basic information to victims would be a way to keep victims informed without adversely impacting an on-going investigation.
2. Increase of funding for victims’ services.
Many victim service providers are suffering from a decreasing amount of funding that is available. MCVRC has lost a number of staff positions. It is important that additional revenue for victims’ services be identified.
3. Changes to improve collection of restitution.
Too often when restitution is ordered, it is either not collected or not timely collected. Prior legislative efforts have made restitution a priority in terms of governmental collections. Allowing those who owe restitution who have the ability to pay not only hurts victims, but allows offenders to flaunt the system.
4. Some statutory appellate authority to allow expedited appeal regarding adverse privacy determinations. See e.g. http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2014/3a14.pdf
In the recent case of State v. Johnson, the Maryland Court of Appeals found that victim’s privileged records for not absolutely privileged. Victims and those holding the records of victims need to have an expedited appeal process to challenge a court order adverse to their interests.
The 2015 legislative session will have a new Governor, Attorney General, Chairpersons of the Senate Judicial Proceedings and the House Appropriations Committee as well as many new legislators and State’s Attorneys.
Your voice to elected officials can help make a difference. Please visit http://www.mdcrimevictims.org/legislation between January and April 2015 to see our final legislative package and what you can do to make a difference.