AUSTIN — Thursday, State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed legislation aimed at preventing domestic violence. House Bill 629, "Monica's Law," as Landgraf has dubbed it, would create an online, searchable and public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence. Landgraf filed "Monica's Law" during the last legislative session, was passed by the Texas House, but was stalled in the Texas Senate.
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.
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.
“'Monica’s Law' cannot go back and save her life, or take away her family’s grief, but it can help prevent others from entering into tragically abusive relationships that can lead to physical violence, and worse, death,” Landgraf said. “That's why I used every legislative tool available to get Monica's law passed out of the Texas House last session and will do so again this session.”
"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.