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Landgraf: Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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Landgraf: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf was elected in 2014 to House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties.

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Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 4:00 am

As we head into October, it is important to take this time to recognize that this month is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence is a very serious issue affecting our state and country, and since 1989 the purpose of Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been to mourn those lost to domestic violence, celebrate the survivors, and spread information about resources for those in need. Nothing could be a better example of the significance of this month than the passage of "Monica's Law." What the passage of this bill signifies is that the safety of the people of Texas is a top priority to the Texas Legislature, and domestic violence will not be tolerated in our state. 

As of September 1st, 2019 Monica's Law, which was signed into law this past legislative session, finally took effect as a way to help decrease and prevent domestic violence.

Monica's Law came to be after Monica Deming, a 32 year-old mother in Odessa, was shot in 2015 in her home by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Monica and her father Jon Nielsen, a former Odessa Police officer, were unaware that her killer had two other previous protective orders against him that he had easily been able to hide. The problem of not being aware of these protective orders arose because the protective orders were registered in different jurisdictions across the state, and that information was not shared with the public or other law enforcement agencies.

Now what Monica's Law will do is create an online, searchable, and public database listing protective orders issued by all Texas, after a due-process hearing, as a result of domestic violence. This resource will be established by June 2020, and will prove to be extremely valuable to law enforcement and citizens alike.

Monica's Law cannot take back the tragedy that took Monica's life, but now Monica's memory can live on in this law that will help prevent future senseless deaths from domestic violence, and will continue to make Texas the best state to live, work, and raise a family.

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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