Bill To Register And Track Family Violence Offenders Passes House
The Texas House has passed House Bill 21, which sets up a statewide database to track the location of repeat offenders that have been convicted of family violence.
The bill, which is authored by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, sets up a registry of anyone convicted three times on charges of family violence and/or child abuse.
Martinez Fischer said he made some distinct changes to the bill prior to its passage on a second reading.
"It’s been amended today to make sure that when we are putting someone on this family violence registry we are talking about serious family violence, we are talking about either being enhanced or being a repeat habitual offender for family violence. This isn’t just someone that has a bad day and does something that they regret, we're talking about somebody that has a problem," Martinez Fischer said.
Another amendment added to the bill hides the street address of the person listed on the registry in order to protect the victim. Martinez Fisher said the registry is very similar to the DPS public sex offender list.
"The purpose is very simple: This is to provide information. The way I look at this is if I know that my children’s friends down the street are in an abusive environment that is going to make a difference on whether I send my children down the street to play," Martinez Fischer said.
Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, signed on as a co-sponsor to the bill because of the increasing rate of family violence and child abuse happening in the North Texas area.
The bill passed on a unanimous vote in the House during a second reading, but still awaits a third and final vote.