COLUMBIA — U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill made a plea to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act at a news conference at the Boone County Courthouse on Friday afternoon.
McCaskill, along with Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight, addressed an audience of about 20 people in the courthouse on the need for violence protection for women.
The U.S. Senate passed the act Tuesday, 78-22. It will now move on to a House of Representatives vote. The bill has been renewed twice since it initially took effect in 1994. The bill was set to be renewed last year, but the House did not take action on the legislation.
McCaskill said those who oppose the bill disapprove of including protection for gay and lesbian couples.
"This is not controversial stuff," she said. "This is not something that we should be fighting about."
Now in its 19th year, the bill includes:
- funding for community centers that prevent violence against children, teens and women
- health services and crisis centers for rape victims
- programs designed to service the needs of immigrant women and minorities
- legal assistance for victims
McCaskill, who as Jackson County prosecutor from 1992 to 1998 advocated services for victims of domestic violence, said she has made it a priority to speak to Missourians about the urgency of passing the bill in the House.
"We've got to make sure that the elected representatives and House of Representatives know that this is not just a priority for the Senate; this is a priority for the women that live in Boone County," McCaskill said.
Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu.