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ROZUM: Laws seek to help end cycle of domestic abuse

This past summer I served on the Domestic Abuse Task Force, which studied current statute, terminology in current statute, legislation that has been presented over several years and the outcomes of the various bills. Everyone in the trenches dealing with domestic abuse was at the table: law enforcement, attorneys, judges, victims, perpetrators, advocates for kids and safe haven providers.

It was a very thorough study, and really brought home that our statutes date back to the '70s. We have learned how pervasive this behavior is and the impact it has on families, and the devastating impact on kids who witness domestic abuse.

• SB7 modifies the language in statute to define domestic abuse and identify who is eligible for protection. It is gender neutral and notes intimate relationships to include dating violence, a significant issue in our society.

• SB2 allows for delayed arrest under certain circumstances in regard to outstanding warrants for victims of domestic abuse with minor children.

• SB3 provides for continuity in the judicial review so the same judge deals with a case.

• SB4 ensures notice to a respondent when a protection order has been issued in another state.

• SB5 allows the judge to determine which type of protection order best suits the situation.

• SB6 establishes a crime of committing acts of domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.

SB6 is of utmost importance if we are to break the cycle of power and control that underlies domestic abuse. Children tend to do as we do and not "do as we say." This breeds the cycle of abuse.

The Senate passed all of these bills last week with flying colors, so we will work hard to get all through the House as the whole package is critical for making headway against the violence of control and power which comes in many forms: physical aggression or assault, verbal abuse, intimidation, sexual abuse, stalking, financial control, threats against family and friends, mind-games -- it's a long list. Perpetrators tend to be most charming as they gain control, and beg forgiveness to regain control. It becomes a vicious cycle, with help needed for both the victim and the perpetrator. Learning to recognize the process and break the cycle early involves education, recognition and overcoming the fear.

The texting ban, feeble as it is, moves to the Senate next. The positives include getting consistency throughout the state and finally getting a start on changing the culture. Writing tickets isn't the important result; saving lives and changing how drivers think is what is important.

We hope this week to be able to pass HB1221 out of the House. It is a return of a bill that failed in Senate Tax last year. The purpose is to exempt Legion and VFW (or any non-profit) baseball coaches from paying sales tax on their income. MBA was notified last year they would owe sales and use tax on the kids' coaches salaries; amateur officials are exempt already.

Stay in touch.

-- Tona Rozum represents District 20 -- Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties -- in the state House of Representatives.