Friday, September 15, 2006

Attorney General ignores issue of eminent domain abuse in Texas

Attorney General Greg Abbott stumps in Midland


Colin Guy
Midland Reporter-Telegram
Copyright 2006

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has made protecting children from sexual predators one of the chief focuses of his administration and during a meeting with the Reporter-Telegram editorial board Thursday he vowed to continue aggressively pursuing measures to shield Texas' youth from those who wish to do them harm.

Abbott highlighted two new programs established during his tenure in office he said have proven immensely successful. He said the Attorney General's Cyber Crime Unit, in which officers pose as juvenile targets, has arrested around 88 suspects who engaged in sexually explicit conversations online then arranged to meet in person. A Fugitive Unit, which focuses on convicted sex offenders who fail to register with local law enforcement after their release from prison, has netted 300 offenders over the past six years, Abbott said.

"(If re-elected) I will work with the lieutenant governor to better protect children of Texas," Abbott said. "There's an underlying issue here we've seen across the United States, which I call a national nightmare."

Abbott said over the course of a second four-year term he would like to pursue the adoption of stricter laws that will place child predators behind bars for a longer period of time and "maybe not let them out." Abbott said he would support a version of "Jessica's Law" which requires registered sex offenders to serve a minimum 25-year sentence and wear electronic tracking devices after their release. This law was drafted by Florida legislators following the sexual assault and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a previously convicted sex offender who did not comply with the registration requirements.

Abbott also indicated under his administration the Attorney General's Office has broken child support collection records to the tune of $5 billion. However, he said the federal government, which provides two-thirds of the funding for these efforts, will reduce its allocations to the state, effectively cutting the budget for child support enforcement in half. Abbott said he plans to testify before the Senate Finance Committee Monday to attempt to convince legislators to restore funding.

Abbott faces opposition from Democratic nominee David Van Os, who Abbott said previously challenged him for a position on the Texas Supreme Court in 1998.

According to the Web site, Van Os is running on a platform that includes going after major oil companies for violations of Texas antitrust statutes and opposing the development of the Trans-Texas Corridor. Van Os is quoted on the Web site as saying this project will be "one of the biggest single exercises of forcible eminent domain in the history of the entire United States" which will "destroy the proper balance between the individual and government with respect to the individual's ability to control his or her own property."

© 2006

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