SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he has signed SB 314 by Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) to enhance the stateâ€™s efforts to collect restitution fines for crime victims in a more efficient and thorough manner and increasing the amount a victim can receive for relocation assistance.
â€œBeing a victim of crime is a life-altering experience that includes hardships most of us canâ€™t even imagine,â€ said Governor Schwarzenegger. â€œI am proud to sign this legislation to support victims of crime during their time of need.â€
The legislation allows the state controller to deduct unpaid restitution fines for crime victims from the income tax refund of a person who owes the restitution. The bill also allows the Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board to authorize the reimbursement of more than $2,000 for relocation assistance for victims, where the additional money is appropriate due to the unusual, dire or exceptional circumstances of a particular claim.
Governor Schwarzenegger has long been committed to protecting crime victims and has approved tough measures that protect victims and increase public safety, including:
Â· In 2006, the Governor created the new position of Crime Victim Advocate to serve as Californiaâ€™s lead advocate on state and federal policy impacting crime victims.
Â· In 2007, the Governor signed legislation that increases the victim notification requirement from 45 to 60 days when a sex offender leaves an institution and protects victims from repeated child abuse by prohibiting offenders from going within 35 miles of the childâ€™s residence.
Â· In 2008, the Governor signed a series of bills that expanded rights for victims of juvenile offenders, increased protections for victim witnesses in sexual assault cases and improved the notification process for victims requesting a restraining order.
Â· Last year, the Governor also signed legislation providing victims with greater access to mental care services and to create a State Capitol Park memorial in honor of Californians who have been victims of a crime.
The Governor proclaimed April 26th through May 2nd of this year â€œCrime Victimsâ€™ Rights Weekâ€ in recognition of the hundreds of advocates who work endlessly to support victims in our state. In 1965, California became the first state to create a victim compensation program. Then in 1982, voters passed the California Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. And in November 2008, the Victimsâ€™ Bill of Rights Act of 2008, also known as Marsyâ€™s Law, was approved at the polls.
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