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Bill on domestic violence protections passes Senate

Feb 7, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

State Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, said he sponsored Senate File 117 at the request of a constituent from Fremont County.

A bill that would better protect the confidentiality of domestic violence victims has made its way through the Wyoming Senate and next will be considered by the House of Representatives.

State Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, said he sponsored Senate File 117 at the request of a constituent from Fremont County.

"It's an important bill to me," Bebout said. "There's a real need out there to protect these spouses from domestic violence and have their addresses held confidential."

In the past, some victims of domestic violence were required to give their addresses when moving forward with divorce action, for example. Kenna Klinker, executive director of the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said SF117 will allow those victims to maintain their privacy despite their involvement in other court proceedings. She thinks local victims served by her organization will feel more comfortable knowing that their location is secure.

"I think it's a good idea ... to keep that (confidentiality) in place throughout the system," Klinker said. "Where they're living, or where they escape to, if you will, is going to be confidential ... on other documents going through court pertaining to them."

Klinker and others in the statewide support system for victims of domestic violence are monitoring SF117 as it progresses through the Wyoming Legislature.

"We're just kind of watching it right now," Klinker said.

It was received for introduction to the Senate on Jan. 15 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee the next day. The committee recommended passage on Jan. 23, and the bill was approved unanimously by the Senate on third reading Jan. 30.

"I'm grateful for that," Klinker said of the support for the bill, "and that Sen. Bebout brought it forward. I think it's something that's really needed."

SF117 was received for introduction into the House of Representatives on Jan. 31, and on Feb. 1 it was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

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