STATEHOUSE (March 20, 2017) – The House of Representatives voted today in support of a bill sponsored by State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) that would allow victims of domestic abuse to legally separate their cell phone plan from an abuser.
“This legislation removes certain obstacles for domestic violence victims who desperately need to separate from their abusive relationships,” McNamara said. “If the abuser is the primary account holder on a shared cell phone plan, they can track call histories, emails and even locations of the victim.”
According to McNamara, there is no standardized process for a victim who is not the primary account holder to separate from a wireless plan they share with their abuser. If the victim is not the primary account holder, they cannot make changes to their plan.
If enacted, this legislation would require wireless providers, under a court order, to transfer plans over to abuse victims without the consent of the account holder.
This bill would also allow judges to include pets, as they would personal property, in a protective order for domestic violence. National studies show about 48 percent of domestic violence victims report that they delayed leaving because they are fearful of what will happen with their pets.
“Abuse is about power over victims and this proposal makes significant and important steps to take away that power from the abuser,” McNamara said. “Hopefully this empowers victims to leave these dangerous situations and gives them the chance to take their beloved pet and support network through their cell phone service.”
The amended proposal now heads to the Senate for their final consideration. Visit iga.in.gov for more information on Senate Bill 323.
State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76,
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.
A high-resolution photo of McNamara can be downloaded by clicking here.