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Texas lawmakers work to protect girls from genital mutilation

Texas lawmakers are considering proposals ranging from protecting girls against genitalia mutilation to requiring seat belts on new school buses.
Texas lawmakers are considering proposals ranging from protecting girls against genitalia mutilation to requiring seat belts on new school buses. atinsley@star-telegram.com

Women in the Texas Senate — Republicans and Democrats alike — united recently for one cause: protecting girls in this state from female genital mutilation.

State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, filed Senate Bill 323 to strengthen current law regarding the mutilation. All eight female senators signed on as joint authors to the bill that makes sure anyone who allows or transports a person for the mutilation can be prosecuted.

“This is a cruel and gruesome act,” Nelson said after the bill was approved by the State Affairs Committee. “It can cause permanent health damage that will be carried by these girls for the rest of their lives. It has no place in our society. We must do everything we can to stop this unacceptable practice.”

More than 500,000 women and girls nationwide — and at least 25,000 in Texas — are at risk of this mutilation, also known as female circumcision. It can happen to girls as young as four years old, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the AHA Foundation.

Seat belts for school buses

A plan to require three-point seat belts in all new school buses bought by a school district passed the Texas Senate recently and now heads to the House.

Senate Bill 693 by state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, applies to all new buses used by schools.

“It's encouraging to have the overwhelming support of my colleagues in this effort to protect Texas schoolchildren,” Garcia said.

Salsa and more

U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, got his hands a little dirty recently.

Veasey worked a shift at Fort Worth’s Mrs. Renfro’s — a family-owned Fort Worth business — labeling barbecue sauces, boxing completed salsas, measuring spices and matching bulk ingredients for future batches of salsa.

This is part of his “Marc Means Business” workdays, a years-long effort for him to get to know more constituents in the 33rd Congressional District that stretches from Fort Worth to Dallas.

“As the conversation in Washington continues to center around how policy-makers can make business ownership more attainable for the average American, I will take the lessons I learned and share it with my colleagues to ensure we are aware of how our decisions affect family-run businesses like Renfro Foods,” Veasey said.

Appointments

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed a handful of Tarrant County leaders to state boards and commissions recently, including:

▪ Duane Lock of Southlake, who has been appointed to serve on the state’s Commission on Jail Standards until Jan. 31, 2023. Lock is president and strategic leader for River Oaks Energy in Dallas.

▪ James L. “Jim” Minge, of Arlington, who will serve on the state’s Credit Union Commission until Feb. 15, 2023. He is president and CEO of the Texas Trust Credit Union.

▪ And Kim Lemaux of Arlington, who has been named to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement until Aug. 30, 2021. She is the police chief at the University of Texas at Arlington and a former police chief for the city of Arlington.

Election dates

Upcoming election dates:

May 2 — Last day of early voting

May 6Local elections

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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