- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker says Massachusetts needs to do more to support victims of domestic violence including stiffening penalties for abusers, educating judges and making pepper sprays more readily available.

Baker said existing laws don’t go far enough.

He said legislators should quickly approve a bill toughening penalties and creating a new crime of strangulation.

Two prominent Democrats, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Attorney General Martha Coakley, also a candidate for governor, plan to unveil an anti-domestic violence bill Tuesday.

Baker said the state should update bail laws to end the presumption of release on personal recognizance for those who repeatedly default on bail and work with local police departments to establish victim advocate programs.

He also said the state should waive fees for individuals seeking criminal background information for their own safety, among other proposals.

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