New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 25, 2007, New Braunfels, Texas
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25,2007 fW
Canyon girls defeat Hays to take second place in District 26-4A. Page 6A
NEWS CAR CRASH
No one was hurt in a singlecar accident that sent the driver into an empty fireworks stand. Page 3A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 141 16 pages, 2 sections
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DEAR ABBY 48 CLASSIFIEDS 48 COMICS 38 CROSSWORD 3B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS GA TV GRID 48
Senate gets tough on predators
■ Lawmakers pass bill that permits death penalty for repeat sex offenders
S'*' ; Or,
Citizen of the Year and Unsung Hero honors to be awarded tonight. Page 3A
By Jim Vertuno
The Associated Press
AUSTIN —The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed its version of “Jessica’s Law,” a get-tough measure on sexual predators that includes a possible death penalty for those who are twice convicted of raping children younger than 14.
“I can think of no more solemn duty than the protection of our most innocent and vulnerable citizens,” said Sen.
Bob Deuell, the Greenville Republican who sponsored the measure.
The bill creates new categories of sexually violent offenses against children younger than 14, breaking out new categories for crimes committed involving kidnapping, date rape drugs, deadly weapons and cause serious bodily injury. Such crimes, or any aggravated sexual assault on a child younger than 6, automatically carry a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.
A second offense carries life in prison or the death penalty.
The bill also enhances punishments for most sex crimes against children and extends the statute of limitations for prosecution.
“We want to deter people. We don’t want victims. But if a crime happens, we want to give our prosecutors the tools to make convictions,” Deuell said.
lite bill is named Jessica’s Law after Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was abducted and
killed. More than a dozen states have passed versions of Jessica’s Law to crack down on sex offenders, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry deemed passage of a child sex offender bill a legislative emergency.
Texas’ version would make it the sixth state to allow some child sex offenders to be sentenced to death.
Critics have questioned whether the death penalty is constitutional in cases where the victim does not die.Spe
■ Election opponents share plans, promises for New Braunfels’ future
By Suzanne Ashe
New Braunfels City Council District 2 candidates, Keep NBNB spokesman, Kevin Webb and District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine each got five minutes to state their political positions at a luncheon Tuesday.
The Leadership New Braunfels Alumni Association invited the candidates to speak at their regularly scheduled meeting to keep with their mission of providing members with opportunities for networking, personal growth and professional development.
District 2 city council candidate Mark Goodner told the audience that with his business background, he believes he can bring vision and accountability to the city council if elected.
“I have experience building cohesive teams," he said. “The city is
See FORUM, Page 8A
“It’s not just about the rivers. It’s the tranquility and safety in our neighborhoods.
- Ken Valentine
“New Braunfels is growing and
changing daily ...We need to pull it
in the direction we want to go.”- Kevin Webb
Legislation improves fee collections
By Mark Koopmans
A state law implemented this past year appears to be helping Comal County better collect fines and court costs.
Senate Bill 1863, passed during the 2006 legislative session, mandated that counties with a population greater than 50,000 and cities with more than 100,000 residents follow a specific plan to improve the collections process.
Comal County, whose population is currently estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be more than 98,000 people, was one of six local counties — along the cities of Austin and San Antonio — that implemented the mandated collection improvement program in April 2006.
The program is designed to manage cases in the instance where defendants — who have been found guilty — are not ready or able to pay all court costs, fees and fines when due.
“The program has been successful in many counties, and we’ve seen
See FEES, Page 8Aaking their piece
District 6 recall election
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Bill would impact women seeking to get an abortion
By Liz Austin Peterson
The Associated Press
AUSTIN — Doctors would have to perform ultrasounds on pregnant women seeking an abortion, but the patients wouldn’t be required to see the images under a bill a Senate committee approved Tuesday.
Republican Sen. Dan Patrick said he hopes women connect with their unborn children after seeing the sonogram and decide against having an abortion.
"I’m interested in protecting the lives of the unborn and giving a woman an option before she makes that fatal choice for that fetus, for that baby, to look at that ultrasound,” said Patrick, a conservative radio talk show host from suburban Houston. “That might persuade her to save that life.”
See ABORTION, Page 8A
District 2 candidates wmn-s
■ Watch for the League of Women Voters and Herald-Zeitung voter's guide in Sunday's edition of paper.
“The real issues are roads, parks and economic development.”
- Jay Patrick
“Think of a council as your own company - what would you want your board of directors qualifications to be?”
- Mark Goodner
■ Early voting begins Monday and ends May 8.
■ Voters who wish to cast their ballots early may do so in the Comal County Courthouse, Room 101A between
8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
* Early voting May 2 and May 8 will take place from 7 a.rn and 7p.m. and from
9 a.m. until I p.m. on May 5.
■ Voting on Election Day,
May 12, takes place from 7 a.rn to 7 p.m.
■ Voters in District 2 may cast their ballots at Memorial Elementary School,
1900 S. Walnut Ave.
■ District 6 voters can vote at First United Methodist Church, 572 W. San Antonio Street, Room 101 A.