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Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.: District 27
Lucio Masthead Graphic
Press Release
March 13, 2013
Contact: Daniel Collins
General Counsel & Press Secretary
Lucio Bill to Help Victims of "Park Girl" Passes Senate

AUSTIN — Today, the Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) which would provide relief to the numerous victims of "Park Girl" Jo Leigh Ares.

Senate Bill 499 removes the requirement that The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs rely only upon a verdict from a jury trial before awarding state dollars set aside for victims of fraud. As many as 80 of Ares' victims won verdicts in front of "bench" trials heard only by a judge, and not a jury. Current law — favoring jury trials over bench trials — prevents Ares's victims from recovering any of their losses.

Senator Lucio provided a full explanation of how Senate Bill 499 fixes current law in a February press release.

"Without access to these funds, many victims of deceptive trade practices or violations of manufacturing housing laws would have no way to recoup their losses," he said in February.

Now engrossed by the Senate, Senate Bill 499 moves to the Texas House of Representatives.