Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 1997
Contact: Chris Ward
(512) 463-0112

STALKING BILL PASSES SENATE

AUSTIN - State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) praised the quick action of the Texas Senate in passing a bill to make stalking a crime again in Texas. Nelson co-authored SB 97 which was filed by Senator Mike Moncrief (D-Fort Worth).

"Since last fall's court ruling striking down the 1993 stalking law, Texas stalking victims have been living again in fear. I want to applaud Senator Moncrief and the other members of this body for acting so quickly to rectify this situation. Every hour's delay is another hour some Texas women are at risk. We must re-empower law enforcement to stop stalkers before they turn violent," Senator Nelson said.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down the 1993 law as unconstitutionally vague in September 1996. Governor George W. Bush has declared passage of a revised law an emergency and urged lawmakers to have a bill on his desk as soon as possible.

The Legislature convened on Tuesday. SB 97 was passed out of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday morning so that it could be considered in the full Senate today. A companion bill is on a similar fast track in the House.

"We are determined to protect Texans from stalkers by putting the new law in place quickly," Nelson said. "I will also pursue an additional measure to make it a felony when a stalker causes physical injury during an incident prohibited by SB 97. Currently, that would only be a misdemeanor unless the attacker has previous convictions."

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