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Legal Professionals, Advocates Discuss Amanda's Law

The attorneys, law-enforcement officers and advocates who make up the Louisville Metro Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinating Council met today met Thursday to discuss Amanda’s Law.

The law took effect last week. It’s meant to better protect domestic abuse victims. Among other things, it allows for GPS tracking of certain accused abusers and extends the time limit for serving protective orders after abuse is reported.

The council’s meeting was held so the attendees could learn more about enforcing and following the law. Council co-chair Carol Cobb says this and future meetings not only help enforcement, but can uncover gaps in the law that need to be addressed.

“I think the more we talk, inter-agency-wise, the better prepared we’re going to be to fine-tune this law so victims will be protected,” she says.

Cobb says she didn’t see any shortcomings in the law at first, but legislation is often fine-tuned over the years as problems emerge.

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Local News

Amanda's Bill Signed Into Law

In a ceremony at the State Capitol Wednesday,  Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed Amanda’s Bill on domestic violence into law.  The measure is named for former state worker Amanda Ross, who was gunned down in Lexington last year.  Among the speakers at the ceremony was Diana Ross, Amanda’s mother. 

“Words cannot express my sincere appreciation that my beautiful daughter Amanda has been honored in this manner.  Amanda’s Law provides our courts with a new and innovative tool to help protect victims of domestic violence,” she said.

The law allows judges to order electronic tracking of individuals who have violated a domestic violence order.  Former lawmaker Steve Nunn, who’s accused of killing Amanda Ross, awaits trial.  He has pleaded not guilty.

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Local News

Amanda's Bill Progresses in General Assembly

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Amanda’s Bill on domestic violence has moved another step closer to final passage in the Kentucky General Assembly.

Amanda’s Bill has been subjected to several weeks of hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which now has unanimously passed a revised version of the bill. The biggest change requires a violation of a Domestic Violence Order before the person named in the order can be required to wear an electronic tracking device.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill’s primary sponsor, is OK with that.

“You know, we’ll analyze it and look at it, but I’m very pleased and was obviously gratified that it received full committee support, unanimously,” says Stumbo, “It’s not had a Senate vote yet, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

The bill moves to the Senate floor.

It’s named for Amanda Ross, who was gunned down outside her Lexington townhouse last September. Awaiting trial for her murder is former lawmaker Steve Nunn, who has pleaded not guilty.

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Local News

Domestic Violence Measure Awaits Action In Frankfort

By Tony McVeigh, Kentucky Public Radio

The 2010 session of the Kentucky General Assembly is entering its ninth week, with hundreds of bills still awaiting final action. 
               
Amanda’s Bill on domestic violence cleared the Kentucky House on January 12th.  Since then, it’s been lodged in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it’s had a couple of hearings, but still awaits a committee vote. 

“If there was any attempt to kill the bill, it just wouldn’t be heard.  I think that they’re doing a great job.  There’s been some tremendous hearings.  And I think there will be a good piece of legislation that will emerge,” said Senate President David Williams.

Amanda’s Bill would require electronic tracking of some individuals in domestic violence cases.  It’s named for Amanda Ross, who was gunned down outside her Lexington townhouse last September.  Accused of her murder is her ex-fiancé, former Rep. Steve Nunn of Glasgow.  Nunn awaits trial and has pleaded no guilty.

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Amanda's Bill Discussion To Resume

Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky lawmakers are expected to again take up Amanda’s Bill, as the 2010 General Assembly enters its fifth week.

Amanda’s Bill, which requires electronic monitoring of individuals in some domestic violence cases, has seen no action since January 12th, when it unanimously passed the Kentucky House. It’s now in the Senate Judiciary committee, chaired by Sen. Tom Jensen. Jensen, who was just recently named chair, says he needed some time to get his feet on the ground. But he plans to call Amanda’s Bill for discussion on Thursday.

“It’s such an important bill, I think in a lot of ways, that we need to take a good look at it and make sure it’s going to apply everywhere and work everywhere,” he says “And if it doesn’t, what are we going to do if it doesn’t?”

Amanda’s Bill is named for Amanda Ross, who was murdered outside her Lexington townhouse last September. Awaiting trial for her murder is her ex-fiancée, former Rep. Steve Nunn. Nunn has pleaded Not Guilty.

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In-Depth News

"Amanda's Bill" Moving Through General Assembly

Amanda’s Bill, which is designed to strengthen domestic violence laws in Kentucky, has moved another step closer to final passage. Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh is tracking the bill’s progress.

Last year, on September 11th, 29-year old Amanda Ross was gunned down outside her Lexington townhouse. Police immediately began searching for her ex-fiancée, Steve Nunn, against whom Ross had taken out a domestic violence order. Hours later, police found Nunn at his parents’ graves in Hart County. He was brandishing a 38-caliber handgun, and had slit his wrists. Nunn, the son of former Gov. Louie Nunn, now awaits trial for Amanda Ross’ murder.

Later that month, House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced plans to introduce legislation in the 2010 General Assembly allowing judges to order the use of GPS tracking devices to monitor the whereabouts of individuals in some domestic violence cases. Stumbo says it’s personal with him because he knew Amanda Ross, who had worked for state government.

“We’ve known her family and her for a number of years,” says Stumbo. “She was what all of us would want to see in our daughters. She was well educated. She was vibrant. She was full of ideas. She loved politics. She was just a person that you would never believe would have this happen to them.”

Last week, at the urging of Amanda Ross’ mother, Diana Ross, House Bill One, or Amanda’s Bill, easily cleared the House Judiciary committee.

“We recognize that nothing we can do will bring back Amanda,” says Ross. “We find Amanda’s Bill to be a common sense approach to enhance the ability of other victims to find needed protections.”

Relinquishing his gavel Tuesday, to speak on the bill on the House floor, Speaker Stumbo told his colleagues it took the tragedy of 9-1-1 to show us that the nation’s defense systems can be breached.

“It took the tragedies of this last 9-1-1 to show us that there is technology available and a system that we can get in place in Kentucky to provide that extra level of protection in these very, very, very severe and serious cases,” says Stumbo.

And Stumbo says it’s time to put that technology, which he says is relatively inexpensive, to work in Kentucky.

“A judge can look and know exactly where these people are,” says Stumbo. “The judge will be able to know then the conduct and behavioral patterns of these individuals as it relates to the situations that they’re in. The court will be able, as we talked about, to protect people who need to be protected.”

“Have all members voted?” says Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark. “Roll call machine showing 97 Ayes, no Nays. House Bill One with House committee substitute one and amendments one, two and three is passed.”

Reaction to the House vote was immediate. Darlene Thomas is with the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program in Lexington.

“We’ve believe it’s a very good start and find a lot of promise that it’ll help domestic violence victims throughout the state,” says Thomas. “We’ll work closely with its implementation the best we can – as far as the domestic violence association and local programs.”

Ross family friend Dale Emmons says the unanimous House vote is a victory for everyone in the commonwealth.

“You know, we do everything we can to protect lives and give people the assurance of personal safety when they find themselves in this situation,” says Emmons. “It’s traumatic for everyone. And if we can prevent violence and prevent incarcerations, and save money at the same time, I think that’s a win-win for everyone.”

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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Local News

Amanda's Bill Passes House

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Legislation that resulted from last year’s murder of former state worker Amanda Ross has cleared the Kentucky House. Amanda’s Bill, which passed 97-0, now moves to the Senate. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who sponsored the bill, says it’s personal with him because he knew Amanda Ross.

“We’ve known her family and her for a number of years,” he says. “She was what all of us would want to see in our daughters. She was well educated. She was vibrant. She was full of ideas. She loved politics. She was just a person you would never believe would have this happen to them.”

Amanda Ross was gunned down outside her Lexington townhome on September 11th. Charged with her murder is former House member Steve Nunn, against whom Ross had taken out a domestic violence order. Amanda’s Bill would allow judges to order electronic monitoring of some individuals in domestic violence cases.

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House to Consider Amanda's Bill Today

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The Kentucky House today is poised to act on Amanda’s Bill, which requires electronic monitoring of some individuals accused of domestic violence.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill’s sponsor, is anxious to move the measure to the Senate.

“We’re gonna add a couple of floor amendments to it that clarify some of the language,” says Stumbo. “One is technical. Rep. Kerr has a good floor amendment on it. I’ve got an amendment that would put an emergency clause on it. So, I’m hopeful that it gets over there. I know that they want to probably have some hearings on it.”

The bill, which easily cleared a House committee last week, is named for Amanda Ross of Lexington, who was shot to death last September.

Former House member Steve Nunn is awaiting trial for her murder.

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Local News

"Amanda's Bill" Advances In Frankfort

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

A bill allowing electronic monitoring of some domestic violence offenders has cleared its first hurdle in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The House Judiciary committee voted unanimously for Amanda’s Bill, named for Amanda Ross, who was slain outside her Lexington townhome last fall. Accused of her murder is former lawmaker Steve Nunn.

The committee vote drew praise from House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the bill’s primary sponsor.

“Our goal is to get what we hope will be model legislation for the rest of the nation. And we obviously welcome everyone’s input. And as you heard today, the questions were, I thought, very good. They’d obviously taken a lot of time to research the bill and look at the differences between the committee sub and the actual bill that was originally proposed. And I’m very pleased with that.”

The measure, known as House Bill One, now moves to the House floor. Speaker Stumbo says it likely will receive a floor vote next Tuesday.