Senate approves Kristy Appleby Act, BexarMet dissolution vote bill
The Texas Senate on Monday passed separate bills by Sen. Carlos Uresti that would expand the state's protective order statute and allow ratepayers to vote on the dissolution of the Bexar Metropolitan Water District.
"Today's Senate action puts the ratepayers of BexarMet one step closer to deciding the fate of this troubled utility," Uresti said. "The elected board and executives at BexarMet have continually failed to adequately manage the utility, and it's time for the customers to hold them accountable."
The Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 341, sent to the House on a vote of 29-1, would appoint a temporary conservator for BexarMet and provide for an election on the next uniform election date after preclearance under the federal Voting Rights Act.
If a majority votes to abolish BexarMet, a process will begin in which the utility's contracts, assets, liabilities, files, records and permits are transferred to the San Antonio Water System.
During a transition period that can last no longer than five years, SAWS - which already provides sewer services to a number of BexarMet customers - will provide affordable and reliable water services to BexarMet's former customers.
In other action, the Senate sent the Kristy Appleby Act to the House on a vote of 30-0.
Senate Bill 116 was spurred by the Feb. 10, 2009, death of 32-year-old Kristy Appleby, who was slain by the ex-wife of a man she had dated. Appleby had sought a protective order against the woman, but it was denied because they were not involved in a personal relationship.
Kristy's case exposed a dangerous loophole in the state's protective order law. This legislation redefines the state's dating violence statute to allow third-party protective orders for people who are not involved in an intimate relationship with each other.
"This bill will ensure that anyone threatened by a broken or dysfunctional relationship will receive the full protection of the law," Uresti said.
Senator Uresti represents Senate District 19, a 55,000 square mile area extending from the city of San Antonio in Bexar County to the Lower Valley of El Paso County and including approximately 750,000 people. The largest legislative district in the nation, it spans two time zones and contains nine of the 14 border counties in Texas.