|In the near future, I plan on introducing a bill to make various changes to the Crime Victims Act. These proposals were developed by the Victim Advocate and various stakeholders and are meant to address the strains the current law is placing on many families. The Victim Advocate is supportive of this legislation.
Under the current law, some families are unable to bury their loved ones and victims are unable to have their medical bills paid. Changes are needed to the compensation provisions in the Crime Victims Act due to these denials of vital funding to crime victims and their surviving families. This bill seeks to address these deficiencies.
The bill will do the following:
- Adds the crime of death or personal injury by vehicle while not licensed to the definition of crime for purposes of the act.
- Exempts enforcement officers who are eligible for benefits under the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law from various definitions relating to victims.
- Makes technical changes to the act to reflect the independence of the Office of Victim Advocate
- Requires officers to provide written notice to victims of potential compensation from the fund
- Allows hospitals or persons eligible for counseling to be eligible for compensation from the fund
- Extends the time to file a claim to three years (currently two years)
- Allows an exception to the three-year claim period if the Office of Victim Services finds good cause why the claim wasn’t filed TIMELY
- Reduces the minimum loss that can be reimbursed to $50 (currently $100)
- Removes the cap on the amount of emergency award that can be granted (currently $1,500 cap)
- Allows a claim to be made for sexual violence and intimidation orders, which are reported, and an action is brought
- Allows reimbursement for costs of transportation to get a victim to counseling
- Several technical changes
I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation to ensure that no crime victim is unable to get necessary medical treatment, nor will a surviving family have to worry if they will have the funds necessary to bury a loved one. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Deery in my office at 717-787-7112 or at Michael.Deery@pasenate.com.