|Posted:||December 21, 2016 12:58 PM|
|From:||Senator Lisa M. Boscola|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Shared Telephone Contract Opt-out for Victims of Domestic Violence|
|I intend to introduce legislation in the near future that would provide victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania with certain exemptions when terminating a shared telephone plan contract if it is with an abuser.
The confidential, expedient and compassionate handling of shared telephone plans for victims of domestic violence is an important step in ensuring their protection and rehabilitation. My bill would amend Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pa.C.S. to relieve the victim of their current shared contract quickly and without penalty.
For a victim, or a relative of a victim, that is the primary account holder: my bill would have telecommunications service providers remove the abuser from the contract within calendar 3 days. A court shall order the abuser to be responsible for any fees associated with this removal as part of an approved protection order or consent agreement.
For non-primary account holders on an abuser’s shared telephone plan: the victim would be able opt-out of and exit the current plan without penalty. A written opt-out request is required along with documentation of a valid police report, protection from abuse order or a signed affidavit from a medical or mental health care provider, court employee, counselor, social worker or victim advocate. These documents cannot be issued more than 6 months before the request. If these conditions are met, the victim may also request and shall be provided at no
additional cost a new telephone number within 24 hours.
This bill is an attempt to safeguard victims from dangerous assailants, protect their health and well-being and even save their lives. It is similar to HB 1108 introduced by Rep. Schreiber in the previous session, and it was part of the bipartisan Senate & House Women’s Health Caucus initiatives. This is a reintroduction of SB 949 from the previous legislative session. Co-sponsors included: Costa, Fontana, Farnese, Mensch, Brewster, Sabatina, Tartaglione, Teplitz, Wozniak, Rafferty, Vulakovich, Alloway, Hughes, Browne and Haywood.
Introduced as SB313