House panel narrows scope of battered-women bill Judiciary panel approves scores of amendments.

April 01, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- Concerned about the rights of men accused of beating their wives or girlfriends, the House Judiciary Committee yesterday weakened a Schaefer administration bill that would give battered women more potential remedies in court.

After weeks of struggling, the panel approved a score of amendments narrowing the scope of the legislation. No one on either side of the issue was happy with the result.

The bill, which already passed the Senate, would still enable battered women to seek civil protection orders requiring abusers to leave their home for up to six months. The measure also enables wives to seek temporary financial support for themselves and their children.

But the delegates voted to limit the number of unmarried women who could seek relief under the bill by requiring that applicants have lived with an abuser for 90 days during the previous year. Delegates also weakened enforcement procedures and prevented women from renewing the protection order beyond six months. Many other states permit orders of up to one year.

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