UPDATE: According to the office of State Senator Pat Fallon, Gov. Greg Abbott plans to sign SB 719 (Lauren’s Law) on Tuesday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the state capitol in Austin. The parents of Lauren Landavazo are expected to attend.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott will spend the next few weeks putting pen to paper signing bills into laws following the 86th Legislature Session. Wednesday during an interview with KFDX, Abbott confirmed his plans to sign into law a bill named after murdered Wichita Falls teen Lauren Landavazo.
Two weeks ago, the Texas House passed Senate Bill 719, known as Lauren’s Law. Under Texas law, prosecutes are given discretion to pursue capital murder charges if the victim is under the age of ten.
Lauren’s Law would raise that age to 15 and allow prosecutors to seek a life without parole sentence for anyone who murders a child between the ages of ten and 15.
In the Landavazo case, she was 13-year-old when Kody Lott shot and killed her while she was walking home from McNiel Middle School with a friend. Lott was convicted and was given the maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole after 30 years.
Abbott called Landavazo’s death horrific and applauded the work of State Representative James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) and State Senator Pat Fallon (R-Prosper), who wrote the companion bills.
“We want to make sure that anybody that commits a murder is going to receive strong justice, including the strongest of penalties that can be delivered,” Abbott said.
Abbott, who was born in Wichita Falls, didn’t give an exact day that he plans to sign Lauren’s Law, but said he looks forward to signing it soon.
During the interview, Abbott also gave an update on his plans to extend the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners and discussed what property tax reform will mean for those in Texoma.