P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 1998
AUSTIN - State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, is off to an early start preparing for the 76th Session of the Texas Legislature. She has pre-filed a package of bills on a broad range of issues that represent her legislative priorities for the session, which runs Jan. 12-May 31.
Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes parts of Dallas, Denton, Ellis, and Tarrant counties.Following is an explanation of her agenda for her fourth session in Austin and a list of bills she has filed.
One of Senator Nelson's top legislative priorities is to protect victims of family violence, especially children. Her package of bills on this issue includes stronger punishments for domestic abusers and provisions that limit the chances of a parent with a history of abuse from having sole custody of a child. She also aims to provide courts with stronger sentencing options for offenders who commit family violence in the presence of children.
We have made a concerted state and national effort to deal with family violence over the last 20 years, Nelson said. The focus of my legislation is to enhance the protection and defense of mothers and their children.
- SB 22 Relating to the eligibility for release on community supervision or parole for a defendant convicted of aggravated assault.
- SB 23 Relating to the duration of certain emergency protection orders issued by magistrates.
- SB 24 Relating to the prosecution and punishment of certain domestic violence offenses.
- SB 50 Relating to the application for, issuance of, and contents of a protective order.
Senator Nelson believes that taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for someones drug habit and has offered legislation that would require drug testing for welfare recipients who have been convicted of drug-related crimes within the last five years. A positive drug test would result in the elimination of cash benefits for one year. The bill also allows for random drug testing. Those who have tested positive will be allowed to have a second confirmation test and an appeal.
"For Texans to move successfully from welfare to workfare, it is necessary not only to deter, but to identify drug abusers and encourage them to seek treatment," Nelson said. This will put an end to welfare recipients using your tax dollars to buy drugs."
- SB 51 Relating to drug testing of certain persons seeking TANF benefits.
Nelson will again fight to eliminate parole for violent criminals classified as "3g offenders." 3g offenses include murder, capital murder, indecency with a child, aggravated kidnaping, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated robbery. Nelson said, This plan would ensure truth in sentencing.
- SB 25 Relating to the eligibility of certain offenders for release on parole or mandatory supervision.
Nelson believes that no minor child should be allowed to have an abortion without the consent of a parent. There is no other major medical procedure that a minor can undergo without a parent's knowledge and consent. Why should abortion be any different?, Nelson said.
- SB 27 Relating to parental consent before an abortion may be performed on a minor; providing a criminal penalty.
Consolidation of Election Dates
Current election law provides for four uniform election dates, but includes 10 exceptions under which elections may be held on non-uniform dates. A Nelson bill will eliminate non-essential exceptions and save taxpayers millions of dollars a year with fewer election dates will also save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Voters are simply faced with too many elections each year, Nelson said. There is no question that the confusion and apathy that results play a major part in poor election-day turnout.
- SB 26 Relating to exceptions to the requirement to conduct elections on uniform election dates.
Nelson has filed a bill to enact statewide term limits on elected officials, a step she believes will restore the concept of citizen government and eliminate career politicians. This bill clearly reflects the will of the people: opinion polls indicate that about 70 percent of Texans support the idea, and eighteen other states currently have term-limit legislation, up from just three in 1990.
This measure would place a six-session limit (full or partial terms) on state representatives and state senators, along with a 12-year maximum on other statewide elective offices, state boards, commissions or other governing bodies with the exception of the State Board of Education. It would also affect the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner and Railroad Commissioners.
- SJR 7 Proposing a constitutional amendment to limit the time that a person may serve in legislative office or in certain elective executive offices.
Initiative and Referendum (I&R)
Nelson has re-filed a bill providing for Initiative & Referendum (I&R). Initiative allows the people to put proposed laws on the ballot by petition. Referendum is a similar process allowing the people to repeal laws already passed. "It gives taxpayers a tool to keep their government limited and accountable," Nelson said.
- SB 28 Relating to enabling legislation for the powers of initiative and referendum. SJR 6 Proposing a constitutional amendment to reserve to the people the powers of initiative and referendum.