Coughlin, Blazejewski bills would enhance crime victim compensation
STATE HOUSE — At the behest of General Treasurer Set Magaziner, Rep. David A. Coughlin Jr. (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) and Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence) have introduced legislation to enhance compensation for victims of violence.
The first bill (2016-H 7538), sponsored by Representative Coughlin, would clear up conflicting language in the law to allow victims of domestic terrorism that occurs outside of Rhode Island, but within the United States, to be eligible for compensation.
"I am proud to put this common-sense legislation in at the request of Treasurer Magaziner to assist victims of acts of terrorism," said Representative Coughlin. "I was made aware of the unfortunate case of Heather Abbott of Newport, who lost part of her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, and was initially denied compensation before winning an award upon appeal. This legislation will clear up any ambiguities in the law so that future victims will be immediately assisted."
The second bill (2016-H 7533), sponsored by Representative Blazejewski, would enhance compensation for victims of domestic violence by raising the cap on relocation expenses from $2,500 to $5,000, and increasing compensation for burial expenses from $8,000 to $10,000.
"Victims of domestic violence and their families must often relocate for their own safety, and these additional funds will go a long way toward providing further assistance and peace of mind," said Representative Blazejewski. "In the tragic cases where a death occurs due to domestic violence, increasing the burial expense compensation is most appropriate and simply the right thing to do."
The Crime Victim Compensation Program's existing funds are adequate to cover both legislative changes with no additional budget allocation required, the Treasurer's Office said.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903