FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/18/2015
Governor Signs Second Bill Sponsored by Freshman Legislator
Austin, Texas - On Wednesday, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 1779, a bill designed to issue specialty license plates for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Authored by Senator Menendez and sponsored by Representative Minjarez in the House, the bill will become effective January 1, 2016.
When a police officer pulls over a vehicle for a traffic violation, the officer typically approaches the vehicle from the rear using lights and sirens. This approach does not adequately alert drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to an officer's orders or instructions, which may lead the officer to believe that the driver is being obstinate when there is simply a communication barrier. Current mechanisms in place to help an officer identify a driver who is deaf or hard of hearing, such as a driver identification visor card and restriction codes placed on a driver's license, require the officer to communicate directly with the driver before becoming aware of the fact that the driver is deaf or hard of hearing. Senate Bill 1987 will help remedy this situation.
“I’m proud to have sponsored this important legislation, which will greatly aid help Texans living with hearing impairments as well as our law enforcement officers," said Rep. Minjarez. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that up to 17% of adults over the age of 18 experienced some hearing difficulty without a hearing aid. This legislation will help countless Texans.”
Rep. Minjarez was the last member to join the 84th Legislative Session, taking the oath of office on April 30, 2015. This is the second bill sponsored by Rep. Minjarez to be signed into law. Representative Minjarez was able to sponsor eight senate bills and co-author 48 house bills in her short time at the Capitol. She also amended several other bills to help advance her legislative agenda, which focused on public education, transportation, seniors, veterans and business opportunities.