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Tuesday, March 9, 1999     (512) 463-0300

AUSTIN - Victims of domestic violence would have greater protections under legislation passed in the Senate today. Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson sponsored the bills which are part of a domestic violence package. It increases protection for victims and penalties for abusers. Senate Bill (SB) 23 extends an emergency protection order, giving victims more time to get a permanent order. SB 50 extends a protective order to five years and makes it easier for victims to receive an extension.

In a press conference upon adjournment, Nelson said, "They need time to maybe get some job skill training, go out and find a job, they need time to put their lives back together."

Under the Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 461, a person convicted of family violence could be required to help fund women's shelters as a condition of probation.

A bill placing a cap on public assistance to people who continue to have children while on welfare barely passed out of the Health Services Committee. SB 64 prohibits the Texas Department of Human Services from increasing their monthly grant. Nelson sponsored the bill and said it is an effort to discourage irresponsible behavior. Opponents of the bill argued it would make poor children poorer. Senators Frank L. Madla of San Antonio and Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth voted against the measure.

Legislation banning the use and possession of eight-liner machines in Texas, SB970, was left pending in the Economic Development Committee. Sibley said the legislation was a result of a recommendation from the Governor's task force on illegal gambling and problems with enforcement of the current law, "Members, your decision is simple; leave the law as it is and take a giant step toward casino gambling in Texas or vote against slot machines by voting for this bill."

Finally, farm worker leader Cesar Chavez would have a state holiday celebrating his achievements under legislation passed in the Senate today. Fourteen Senators co-sponsored CSSB107 with the bill's sponsor, Senator Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi.

The Senate will reconvene tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10, at 10:00 a.m.

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