From staff reports
Published: Friday, May 27, 2011 12:32 PM CDT
Flower Mound Leader Star
Several bills authored by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, are on track to reach the governor's desk. The 82nd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature adjourns on May 30.
Following are highlights of Senator Nelson's legislative priorities:
....Reforming child protective services: SB 218 redesigns the state's foster care system to help displaced children remain in their home communities where they have access to valuable support networks. SB 219 better coordinates mental health services for abused and neglected children. "Especially at a time when we need to make every penny count, it is vital that our resources are being allocated into systems that truly support children and help them grow up to become responsible adults."
Domestic violence: SB 82 expands the definition of stalking to include actions other than following a victim or repeated actions of the same kind. It also adds language that stalking can include behavior targeted to the victim's current dating partner. "The connection between stalking and subsequent violent acts must be taken seriously," Nelson said. SB 434 establishes a task force to address the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse and neglect.
Child care safety: SB 1178 increases protections for children in paid care. It enhances oversight of the approximately 7,600 listed family homes and prohibits individuals from managing a child care operation if their authority to operate was previously revoked or denied. "These changes improve the state's oversight of child care operations to increase protections for children in a variety of paid care settings."
SB 76 responds to reports of fraud in the federal self-arranged day care program, which provides day care subsidies for single parents transitioning from welfare to work. Reports have uncovered cases of children being left at home unsupervised or placed in the care of relatives with felony records. The bill mandates criminal background checks on providers. "This bill closes the door to unsuitable providers so that the funding truly benefits those single parents in need of day care assistance to remain in the workforce."
Protecting vulnerable Texans: SB 78 allows state health and human services agencies to share information about adverse licensing decisions and gives agencies authority to deny an application based on another agency's decision. SB 221 strengthens protections against the exploitation of seniors and ensures that law enforcement is notified if a client's home may be left vacant due to the client being removed under a protective order. SB 220 increases protections of wards in guardianship and make it easier for families to navigate the guardianship system. "These reforms will protect the civil liberties of persons who come under the state guardianship system and help family members understand and follow the process." FULL STORY