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SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES LEGISLATION BY SENATOR NELSON
AUSTIN —The Texas Senate today passed nine bills authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, on the local and uncontested calendar. The bills, which now move to the Texas House of Representatives for further consideration, include:
SB 58 - Mental Health Care Reform: SB 58 improves mental health care by placing mental health services into a managed care setting, integrating behavioral and physical health and expanding the number of providers who offer these services. The Legislative Budget Board has estimated that the bill will achieve $9.24 million in savings over the next 5 years -- $1.13 million in the first biennium. "Mental health care is a top priority for the Legislature this session following the tragedy in Connecticut last year. This bill will provide better care in a more cost-effective way, ensuring we can reach the most people with the best services."
SB 59 - Eliminating Obsolete Reports: SB 59 eliminates obsolete and redundant reports identified by the Legislative Budget Board and other state agencies. In all, approximately 100 government reports would be repealed or modified. "SB 59 increases government efficiency and eliminates waste. It helps our agencies focus their time, energy and money on reports that are truly relevant and useful."
SB 65 - Healthy Branding: SB 65 recognizes schools that excel in promoting student health. It creates a voluntary program through the Texas Education Agency that would create a tiered healthy school recognition system based on fitness assessments, physical activity and other student health indicators. It would also allow the Texas Education Commissioner to establish partnerships with private and non-profit entities to provide monetary rewards to schools that are recognized. "SB 65 allows Texas to recognize schools that are excelling in promoting student health and addressing the problem of childhood obesity. By going above and beyond to encourage students to take personal responsibility over their own health, we can help them avoid chronic illnesses later in life."
SB 129 - Protective Order Filing Location: SB 129 allows domestic violence victims to file protective orders in the county where the offense occurred. Currently, protective orders can only be filed in the county in which the victim resides or the county in which the alleged offender resides. "This bill gives domestic violence victims another option to ensure their safety."
SB 130 - Prosecutor Conflict Clarification: SB 130 permits a prosecutor to represent a victim of domestic violence and file protective orders without conflict when the prosecutor has or is currently representing the Department of Family and Protective Services in a matter involving the victim. "This bill eliminates unnecessary burdens for victims of domestic violence and makes it easier for them to obtain the protective orders they need to keep them safe."
EDITOR'S NOTE: All quotes in the capsules above are attributable to Senator Nelson.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.