“Monica's Law,” filed as House Bill 2315, is awaiting a vote after being presented in a Texas House committee. State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed the legislation to prevent domestic violence by increasing accessibility to information about individuals with a history of domestic violence. The bill aims to create a publicly searchable database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts.
Late on the evening of Monday, April 24th, Rep. Landgraf presented Monica's Law, to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Monica's father, along with her sister and brother, traveled to Austin to share their personal stories of loss and testify in favor of the bill.
“I filed this legislation after working closely with Monica’s family and I'm proud of them for coming to the Texas Capitol to share their story,” Landgraf said. “By providing gripping testimony, they are helping turn tragedy into triumph by helping prevent others from becoming victims of domestic violence.”
"There is nothing we can do to bring Monica back, but maybe this could save somebody else," Jon Nielsen, Monica’s father and a retired Odessa police officer, stated in front of the committee.
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.
“Monica had no clue of his violent and abusive past; he was a seasoned predator and he knew exactly how to hide it from her and her family," explained Jenny Dorsey, Monica's sister.
Monica’s Law would establish a statewide registry of protective orders, where certain redacted information could be publicly accessed, and where law enforcement and the courts have access to all of the information provided by approved protective orders. The information would only be available after due process has been given to the abuser in a judicial proceeding.
"It's too late to do anything for my sister now, but it's not too late for my daughter, my other sister, my mother, your daughters, your sisters, or your mother," Paul Nielsen, Monica's brother, implored the committee.
Monica’s Law could be approved by the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee as early as next week, and then it could be scheduled for debate in the Texas House floor.