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Texas Senate Passes Stalking Bill
AUSTIN — The Texas Senate today unanimously passed SB 82, legislation authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson to better protect stalking victims from dangerous behavior that often leads to violence.
"The connection between stalking and subsequent violent acts must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, our state's narrow definition of this offense makes it difficult to prove unless an individual physically follows a victim. This bill makes clear that other types of behavior targeted at a victim can be considered as stalking," said Senator Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
Senate Bill 82 clarifies that a "scheme or course of conduct" of stalking does not necessarily involve following or repeated actions of the same kind, and adds language that stalking can include behavior targeted to the victim's current dating partner. It also guarantees victims the right to offer relevant testimony in court and ensures that stalking can be prosecuted in any county in which one instance of stalking occurred.
Nationwide, more than 3.4 million people were stalked annually, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Three-fourths of female murders and 85 percent of attempted female murders nationwide were preceded by at least one episode of stalking.
Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.