Domestic violence bill passes House


by Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 12 at 6:13 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Days after a grieving Kentucky mother's impassioned plea, House lawmakers passed a bill that would allow judges to order people named in domestic violence orders to wear ankle monitors.
   Lexington resident Diana Ross said the monitors are needed because existing state laws and the court system failed to protect her daughter, Amanda Ross, who was gunned down last year, allegedly by an ex-fiance who had served some 15 years in the legislature.
   The House voted 97-0 on Tuesday to pass the measure, known as Amanda's Bill.
   "We're obviously really happy with the unanimous support of the House," said Dale Emmons, spokesman for the Ross family. "We recognize that it is a deliberative process, and there will be a lot more discussion on it. We're optimistic though."
   House Speaker Greg Stumbo, the chief sponsor of the measure, has been pushing for the ankle monitors since Ross was gunned down last year. Her ex-fiance, former state Rep. Steve Nunn, was charged with murder, and has entered a not guilty plea.
   Nunn, the son of a former Kentucky governor and himself once a Republican gubernatorial candidate, was one of the most recognized men in Kentucky politics. He had served 15 years in the state legislature.
   After the breakup of their engagement, Ross had obtained a domestic violence protective order.
   Stumbo said placing the monitors on people who pose a domestic violence threat could alert potential victims of imminent danger, and could have potentially saved the life of Amanda Ross and others if they had been in use previously. Tracking devices would send a signal when the person wearing the monitor gets too close.
   "This technology was right there under our noses all the time and we didn't realize it," Stumbo said.
   If passed, Kentucky would be one of more than 10 states that have similar laws in place.
   Diana Ross was in the House for the vote on Tuesday, joining in applause after the floor vote. She deferred comment to Emmons, who said the family remains hopeful that the measure will move quickly through the Senate.
   "I don't think there's any question it will save lives," Emmons said.
   Gov. Steve Beshear urged passage of the legislation in his State of the Commonwealth speech last week.
   "We recognize that nothing we can do will back Amanda," Diana Ross told lawmakers last week. "We find Amanda's Bill to be a commonsense approach to enhance the ability of other victims to find needed protections."
   The measure is House Bill 1.
   (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)