AUSTIN — “Monica’s Law,” aimed at preventing domestic violence, was signed in to law by Governor Greg Abbott late on Tuesday. The legislation, authored by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), will create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence after a due-process hearing.
Monica Deming, the inspiration behind the legislation, was murdered on November 29, 2015 in an act of domestic violence. Monica, a 32 year-old mother, was shot and killed in her Odessa home by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret.
"Monica's Law will save lives and protect countless Texans from domestic abusers," said Governor Greg Abbott. "Nothing is more important than the safety and security of Texans, and we must do everything we can to protect innocent people from violent individuals. I am grateful to Representative Landgraf for his leadership on this issue, and I am honored to continue the legacy of Monica Deming by signing HB 629 into law."
"Monica’s Law" establishes a statewide registry where certain redacted information can be accessed by the public, but also one where law enforcement and the courts have access to all of the information provided by protective-order applicants. Information is only available after due process has been given to the abuser in a judicial proceeding.
“Monica’s Law will save lives, and I'm grateful to Governor Abbott for his leadership in signing this anti-domestic violence legislation in to law," Landgraf said.
Landgraf began crafting this legislation after being approached by Monica’s father, Jon Nielsen, a former Odessa police officer. Nielsen pleaded that, had a database been available, he and Monica would have been able to know that her abuser had a history of domestic violence. Together Landgraf and Monica’s family have been fighting for this legislation for more than three years. Nielsen made multiple trips to the Texas Capitol to testify before legislative committees as the legislation made its way through the legislative process. Landgraf first filed the legislation during the 2017 legislative session and where it was passed by the Texas House, but then became stalled in the Texas Senate.
"Monica’s Law" will take effect September 1, 2019.