Rep. Amore and Sen. Da Ponte bills to stop domestic abusers from disrupting victims’ utility services signed into law
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore and Sen. Daniel Da Ponte’s legislation (2016-H 7459 SubA / 2016-S 2714 SubA) that prohibits individuals served with protective orders relating to domestic assault from shutting off or disrupting utility services without prior court approval has been signed into law by Governor Raimondo. The General Assembly passed the legislation last month.
“Not all domestic abuse involves direct physical violence. Maliciously cutting off a victim’s utilities is one such example of the varied types of domestic abuse that can occur and this legislation will prevent abusers from leaving their victims alone and cold in the dark,” said Representative Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence).
“To purposively deprive a victim of domestic abuse heat, water, or electricity is beyond unacceptable and those that engage in this type of further abuse need to be held accountable. This legislation ensures that these types of abusers must answer for their actions,” said Senator Da Ponte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence).
The legislation states that the court shall not allow any person to remove their name from a utility bill, terminating their financial responsibility of the utility, without the balance owed to the utility being satisfied and that the person covered by the protective order is able to establish an account under their own name without causing hardship, and are capable of fulfilling their financial obligations towards the utility in the future. Violations of the legislation will result in a misdemeanor harassment charge and a fine not exceeding $500.
Representative Amore has been a strident advocate for protecting victims of domestic violence in the state. He also saw legislation (2016-H 7283 Sub A) signed into law this year that requires any person convicted of a felony domestic violence offense to surrender all guns in their possession, care, custody or control to either the state or local police, or federally licensed firearms dealer and that they file proof of surrender of those firearms with the court having jurisdiction over the case. This legislation follows previous legislation (2015-H 5872) that Representative Amore has introduced for the past three years that would prohibit any person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense from purchasing, owning, transporting, carrying, or possessing any firearm.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903