P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2017
AUSTIN — Thanks to an amendment containing legislation filed by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, general law municipalities may enact child safety zones to protect young Texans from sex offenders.
“Children in every city deserve to be protected from sex offenders, and we kept fighting to make that clear. I am pleased we have finally put this issue to rest,” Senator Nelson said. “Under this new law, general law cities will have the same authority as home rule cities to pass child safety zones.”
HB 1111 has been signed into law with the language of SB 76 by Senator Nelson, allowing Texas’ nearly 800 general law citied -- typically cities with a population of under 5,000 -- to enact ordinances that restrict the residency of convicted sex offenders.
This caps a nearly 10-year struggle dating back to an attorney general opinion requested by Senator Nelson. On March 6, 2007, Attorney General Abbott issued Opinion 0526 concluding that Texas law does not allow general-law municipalities the authority to implement residency restrictions; however, home rule cities have the authority to have such residency restrictions.
In 2015 similar legislation died in the House Calendars committee. This session HB 387, the House companion to SB 76, stalled on the House calendar on the last night for the House to act on it. With the help of other members, Senator Nelson was able to attach SB 76 to HB 1111 in committee. The House voted to concur with the amendment, and the governor has signed it into law.