By Wyndi Veigel
With House Bill 1872 making it out of committee and onto the Texas House of Representative’s floor for a vote, Princeton Mayor Ken Bowers in impassioned with enthusiasm.
The bill would allow General A Law cities the ability to set up “child safety zones” and prohibit registered sex offenders from being within a 1,000 foot of these zones.
Home Rule Charter cities already have this ability, but General A Law cities do not, Mayor Bowers said.
Bowers has been working for months along with Representatives Jodie Laubenberg and Scott Sandford to get this bill out of committee and onto the floor.
“I want to protect our children and their safety is very important to me,” Mayor Bowers said.
The bill states that “To provide for the public safety, the governing body of a general-law municipality to which this section applies by ordinance may restrict an individual who is required to register as a sex offender under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the municipality.”
If passed into law, the Princeton City Council would be responsible for setting designated child safety zones for the city of Princeton via ordinance. Possible child safety zones, which is defined as a premise where children commonly gather, includes a school, could include bus stops and parks.
One possible amendment to the bill that may be discussed, Bowers said, is making it where registered sex offenders could still drop off kids at a bus stop or park, but could not loiter or stay in the area.
The bill was set to go to a second reading either May 12 or May 13 in the house and then will most likely go for a vote the following day. The results of that action were not available at press time. However, the last day for House bills for the Texas House of Representatives is Thursday, May 14. If the bill passes, it will then move onto Senate committee and then onto the Senate floor if it makes out of committee. The last day for House bills in the Senate is Wednesday, May 27.
“It is very important that people contact their representatives and senators to make them aware that they want this bill passed,” Bowers said.
To contact Representative Laubenberg call 512-463-0186, for Representative Sandford call 972-548-7500 and for Senator Craig Estes call 512-463-0130.