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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 13, 2017 03:19 PM
From: Representative Carol Hill-Evans
To: All House members
Subject: Providing for the cancellation of Shared Telephone Contracts for Victims of Domestic Violence
For victims of domestic violence, being able to hide from or avoid an assailant or abuser may be the difference between life and death. Hiding, however, may prove to be more difficult in today’s age of technology, especially when a victim and their abuser may share the same telephone plan. Cancelling an account may not be so easy for the victim if the victim is not a primary account holder. It could be additionally burdensome when early termination fees can cost consumers hundreds of dollars. That is why, in the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation (former HB 1108) that alleviates this financial burden for victims of domestic violence. Similar legislation was introduced in New York and Oklahoma.

This bill would enable a victim of domestic violence who is not a primary account holder to ask the courts to order the abuser to remove the victim from a shared telephone plan. In addition, the courts would have the authority to order an abuser responsible for any early termination fees associated with removing a victim from the shared telephone plan.

For victims who are primary account holders, my legislation would have telecommunications service providers waive any fees associated with removing an abuser from a shared telephone plan and provide the victim with a new telephone number within 24 hours, if requested. Victims making such requests would have to do so in writing and provide valid proof of domestic abuse such as a protection from abuse order. This bill also provides for confidentiality on behalf of a telecommunications service provider with respect to a consumer’s personal information or documentation relating to domestic violence.

As legislators, we should stand behind victims of domestic violence to give them the tools they need to protect themselves and their loved ones from their abusers. I encourage you to join me in supporting victims of abuse by sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1632