Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Sex Laws in Texas

In response to the terrible crime committed in Florida resulting in the death of a young girl named Jessica, Texas has made some changes in how to deal with sex offenders. In Do tough sex laws help or hurt? the pros and cons of the new laws are discussed. Although the harsher sentences seem like a solution to the problem, some experts and victims say that it will not have the effect some are hoping for.

The laws are mainly effective against stranger molestation, when a child is harmed by someone they do not know, however 93% of the time this is not the case. Most commonly it is a family member and generally children or spouses do not want to testify against their own family, they just want an end to the abuse not to exchange one family problem for another. Another case the laws do little to change is when the abuse is between children. A child is defined as under 17, and the law allows for a “Romeo and Juliet” case where consensual sex between two over 14 who are within 5 years of age of each other is not considered a crime.

However, the laws do have many good solutions. Sentences for prolonged abuse or super aggravated assault of a child are set at a minimum of 25 years and repeat offenders could get life or even the death penalty. Some say that it is unsure if the death penalty will actually be used or if it is even allowed. It is not clear in the Constitution whether the death penalty can be given to someone who has left their victim alive.

Hopefully the new laws are just the first step in the right direction to making a change. With new laws and more education about it, the society as a whole can take a stand and stop child abuse together.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Vote to Change Voting in the House and Senate

On Novemeber 6 there will be a vote in Congress on Proposition 11. Propositio 11, if passed, would require that the votes of all of the members of the House and Senate would be recorded. Since 2005, both the House and the Senate have been recording all of their votes, so those that oppose the proposition state that it not necessary to change the Constitution if Congress is already doing it. However, under the current rules they can decide to stop doing it at any time. Proposition 11 would merely require the records to be kept so that Congress could not decide they do not want to keep records on this contraversial vote or another.
I feel that this is a necessary amendment to the Texas Constitution, as it has been to forty other states. Although it will cost tax payers a little more, roughly $125,000, knowledge is worth more than money, and that is a small price to pay for the increase in knowledge of our government.
The record of votes is the ultimate truth. If politicians were not notorious liars, this would not be necessary. However, we do not live in that Eutopia and we deserve to know what our officials have to say and believe. I, for one would like to know if the Congressmen are standing by the beliefs that they spoke so strongly about during their campaigns, and following through on them once in office.