Deuell Passes Jessica's Law
AUSTIN -- On Tuesday, State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) passed House Bill 8, relating to the prosecution and punishment of those who commit sexual offenses against children. The bill, which passed the Senate on a vote of 30-1, will enact tougher penalties for sex offenders and aid in their prosecution.
Jessica's Law is named Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year old Florida girl who was abducted, raped and murdered in 2005. The case has sparked tougher child sex offender laws in more than two dozen states.
Deuell said he was honored to carry legislation aimed at protecting children in Texas.
“This is a bill that I am very proud of,” Deuell said. “I am very proud of the way my colleagues worked together to formulate a bill that is fair and will ensure that justice is served to those who would prey on our innocent children.”
The major provisions of the Senate version of House Bill 8 include:
- the statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes committed against children has been doubled, and for some cases, eliminated
- local prosecutors can request assistance from the Attorney General’s office in prosecuting violent sexual offenses
- active, real-time GPS monitoring and tracking of violent sexual offenders
- requiring criminal courts to prioritize cases of sexual abuse against children
- creating a new offense, “Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child,” to give prosecutors the tools they need to get convictions
- increasing the penalties for cases of child prostitution and production of child pornography
- mandating a minimum 25 year sentence for those who commit the most heinous crimes against children
- authorizes life in prison without parole, and the option of the death penalty for those convicted multiple times of violent, aggravated sexual assaults of young children
“This is bill that will serve as a deterrent and keep our children safe,” Deuell said. “We want predators and potential predators to know that justice in Texas will be swift and severe.”
As part of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst's "Texas Children First" plan, the Senate version of House Bill 8 will enact some of the toughest laws in the nation to deal with violent child predators.
“When I stood with Mark Lunsford last summer to announce the Texas Senate would pass Jessica's Law to protect our children, I meant it,” Dewhurst said. “I want to thank Senator Deuell for carrying this important piece of legislation.”