Jessica's Law Upgraded

Published: Sep. 3, 2007 at 2:44 AM CDT|Updated: Dec. 14, 2014 at 8:52 AM CST
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Texas lawmakers spent months constructing hundreds of new laws that are now in effect. One of those in particular, Jessica's Law named after 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford a Florida girl who was sexually abused and murdered, now allows prosecutors to seek much harsher punishments.

"I never feel safe, I worry all the time. I think it's just part of being a mother," a local mom says.

And lawmakers are hoping to ease some of that anguish with an active message to sexual predators. HB 8, known as Jessica's law cracks down on sex offenders that prey on children, and on September first that crackdown just got stricter in the state of Texas. It's a move that parents support.

"It's one of the worst offenses in my mind anything against a child, so anything that increases their punishment is a good thing," explains April Jenkins, a mother of two daughters.

The new and improved, Jessica's law imposes a 25 year minimum sentence for sexually violent offenses against children less than 14 years of age, with no chance of parole for certain offenders, and a second conviction is now considered a capital felony.

The new law also allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty for repeat offenders. And sex offenders released to the public will now be monitored by GPS. It's a way to track their every move, keeping them away from sensitive areas where you can count on them finding children.

The changes made to Jessica's law could act as a deterrent for sexual offenders, but one father of four isn't counting on it, "I'm not sure if sexual violators look at the law before they make a decision, but if it does give an indication of being a deterrent I'm all for it."

Regardless, many Lubbockites believe you do the crime, you should do the time.

Other new laws that took effect Saturday focus on elderly drivers, speeding tickets, missing seniors and dog owners.