Senator Craig Estes Passes First Bill
AUSTIN -- State Senator Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, passed the first bill of his legislative career Monday by closing a loophole regarding sex offender registration.
Current law does not require registered sex offenders to report name changes. They must report changes including their residency, job status and physical health, but they are not required to tell law enforcement about name changes.
Senate Bill 146 passed by Estes closes this loophole by requiring registered sex offenders to report name changes to their supervising law enforcement agencies.
"While the supervisory job we are doing so far is adequate, closing this loophole will make the people of Texas more comfortable knowing where these registered offenders are and what their new names might be," Estes argued before members of the Texas Senate.
The freshman senator from District 30, joined at his desk by other freshman senators, passed his first bill with unanimous approval, but not without first undergoing some traditional light-hearted hazing from senior senators, who grilled Estes on the technicalities of his legislation.
Estes took the hazing in good-natured stride, smiling throughout the ordeal, until Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst finally rapped the gavel to signal passage. Estes was rewarded with a round of applause from his fellow senators.
"I knew going onto the floor today that I would be subjected to a little ribbing and a little kidding. It's just part of the tradition in the Senate that every freshman must endure. After the senior members had their fun, I was proud to receive everyone's support on what we all recognize as a serious piece of legislation. I am proud that SB 146 will be recorded as my first bill of my first session of the Texas Legislature," Estes said.
Estes said he is proud in knowing that the idea for this legislation came from a constituent. Estes credited criminal investigator Terry J. Dunn of Sherman with identifying the legal loophole and bringing it to the legislator's attention.
"I have said many times that the best ideas don't always come from Austin, that the best ideas often flow from people right here in Senate District 30. This is a prime example of what I'm talking about and how ordinary citizens can have a positive impact on the legislative process," Estes said.
Senate Bill 146 now goes to the Texas House of Representatives. Its companion, House Bill 497, is being carried by freshman Representative Larry Phillips, R-Sherman.
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