AUSTIN — Legislation by State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to bolster the state’s online protective order registry passed out of the Texas House by a vote of 145 - 1 on Tuesday.
“Last session, we passed Monica’s Law to create the Texas Protective Order Registry to include protective orders issued as a result of domestic violence,” Landgraf said. “The registry has been a huge success, so we want to improve the tool further with HB 2702 by including protective orders for victims of sexual assault or abuse, indecent assault, stalking, and human trafficking in the database as well.”
“Monica’s Law” was named in honor of Monica Deming, an Odessa mother who was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend in 2015 with multiple protective orders issued against him. He was able to hide his violent past by exploiting the information gap in the system. Prior to the Texas Protective Order Registry going into place, protective orders issued in one county were unknown and inaccessible by law enforcement and courts in another county.
“Monica’s Law closed the information gap that existed between the courts, law enforcement and the public as it relates to protective orders arising from incidents of domestic violence so that repeat offenders of domestic abuse can no longer hide their crimes by moving from county to county,” Landgraf continued. “Now HB 2702 ensures the same thing applies to other horrible acts like assault and human trafficking. This is all about catching the bad guys and protecting and empowering the public.”
HB 2702 bolsters the protection the registry provides by amending the language to include protective orders issued under Chapter 7A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. HB 2702 also provides the process for vacated protective orders to be removed from the database. No statute currently provides for the removal of the record when the protective order is vacated by a court.
The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.