Ben Chandler expects federal funding to help implement Amanda's law

08/12/2010 04:01 PM

LEXINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, said $875,000 tagged for equipment to monitor domestic violence offenders is making its way through the congressional budget process.

Chandler announced the funding at a press conference along with state House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, who sponsored the legislation now known as Amanda’s Law that allowed for judges to outfit offenders with GPS monitoring devices as an extra line of defense in domestic violence cases.

The law is named for Amanda Ross, who was murdered nearly a year ago. Her estranged ex-boyfriend, former state Rep. Steve Nunn, has been accused of fatally shooting Ross after she took out a domestic violence order against him. Nunn is awaiting trial in Lexington.

Judges can order the monitoring devices to keep tabs on offenders who are found to have stalked or assaulted a person after a domestic violence order was issued. Some county officials have said they haven’t started a pilot program to test the devices yet because they didn’t allot money in the budget for them. That’s where the federal funds come in.

Chandler said the $875,000 has cleared the appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science. It is awaiting approval by the full house.

Fayette commonwealth attorney Ray Larson, whose office is handling the prosecution in the Nunn case, will be responsible for doling out those funds.

Stumbo said Chandler called him last year to ask whether he could do anything to help the effort to pass the bill or provide funding.

“That’s the first time I got a call from Washington saying we want to help you and they really mean it,” he said.

Chandler, Stumbo and Diana Ross — the mother of Amanda Ross — spoke at a press conference Thursday at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program Shelter outside of Lexington. Here’s what they said:

In addition to the $875,000, Chandler said he is working on securing $325,000 for the shelter to help assist families and women trying to rebuild their lives after leaving the shelter.

- Ryan Alessi with video produced by Greg Pursifull

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