Landgraf passes “Monica's Law” just before deadline in Texas House

Monicas_Law_Passes_House.jpgThursday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) passed “Monica's Law” out of the Texas House of Representatives. Monica’s Law would create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence.

Monica Deming, the namesake behind the proposed law, was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. He shot and killed the 32 year-old mother in her Odessa home on November 29, 2015, several weeks after she broke off the relationship. At least two protective orders for domestic violence had previously been issued against him, but he was easily able to keep them secret by gaming the current system.

Landgraf began crafting the 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.

With the deadline to pass bills quickly approaching, Landgraf maneuvered to amend another bill by adding the provisions of Monica’s Law to ensure that it passed in the House before the midnight deadline on Thursday night.

If Monica’s Law is passed in the Texas Senate, it would establish a statewide registry where certain redacted information can be accessed by the public, and 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 cannot go back and save Monica’s life, or take away her family’s grief, but it can help prevent others from entering into tragically abusive relationships,” Landgraf said. “That’s why I used every legislative tool available to get Monica’s Law passed out of the House.”