Legislation

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This entry was published on 2019-09-20
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SECTION 90
Legislative findings
Civil Rights (CVR) CHAPTER 6, ARTICLE 9
§ 90. Legislative findings. No victim of domestic violence, or other
person threatened with violence or in jeopardy of harm, should fail to
access police or emergency assistance when needed because of the fear
that doing so may result in losing their housing through eviction or
other actions to remove them from the property. Some local laws or
policies have the effect of treating such requests for police or
emergency aid as a disturbance constituting a "public nuisance" or
otherwise treating the individual faced with the violence and in need of
assistance as an undesirable tenant or undesirable influence on the
neighborhood based upon a call for help to their home. Legislation is
needed to assure that victims of violence or threats of harm or violence
are not penalized in relation to any law enforcement activity and
intervention necessary to address offender accountability and victim
safety.

Municipalities throughout the state have increasingly begun to adopt
local laws and ordinances to address public nuisances or other
intrusions on the quiet enjoyment of their residents and communities.
Despite their intent to aid communities, overly broad ordinances have
instead had a harmful chilling effect deterring victims of violence and
crime from accessing police assistance and have jeopardized public
safety. They also can unfairly penalize landlords when their tenants
need emergency assistance. Courts in New York and other states have
found such public ordinances to be unconstitutional because of these
harms. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
issued guidance in 2016 on how these ordinances can violate the Fair
Housing Act's prohibitions on discrimination based on sex, race,
disability, and national origin.

Given the negative impact that certain provisions have on the
community at large, and to victims of crime in particular, remedial
legislation is necessary that will both protect the rights of domestic
violence and crime victims and others to access essential police and
emergency assistance, as well as preserve the locality's right to
address conduct that may undermine the community's safety or integrity.

The legislature therefore finds that it is desirable to clarify the
law in this area in order to protect people from violence and crime.

The legislature further finds that there is a need to assure that
victims of violence, including persons threatened with harm or violence,
have a clear right to access assistance to protect personal or public
safety.

The legislature further finds that clarification in this area will
advance the state's interest in stopping crime and further the aims of
penal laws that depend on citizens to report incidents of crime to law
enforcement.

The legislature finally finds that there is a need to assure that
people who need emergency assistance, including persons with
disabilities, have a clear right to access assistance without fear of
penalty or reprisal.

With this remedial legislation the legislature specifically intends
that the coverage of this article includes, but is not limited to, laws
or ordinances that use any form of cumulative point system for the
purpose of identifying any persons or properties who or which would be
subject to municipal enforcement action.