From submitted reports
A Texas law, referred to as Jenna's Law and passed by State Representative Tan Parker, recently appeared in similar form before the Illinois Legislature.
Jenna's Law was unanimously passed by the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate during the 81st Legislative Session and became Texas law on June 19, 2009. The law, supported by numerous children's advocacy groups across the state and the Texas PTA, directs school districts to include a child sexual abuse prevention policy in their school handbook and district improvement plan.
Parker stated that he filed Jenna's law, because of the "much needed awareness as to the signs of child sexual abuse so that abused children may be identified and receive the immediate help they need."
The year following the passage of Jenna's law, a bill that creates a task force to study sexual abuse prevention education in public schools was filed in Illinois. The bill gives the Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children a charge of studying successful child sexual abuse prevention methods through education, including raising awareness through school handbooks and policies, provisions identical to that which Representative Parker successfully authored in Texas.
In response to the Illinois Senate Bill, Dan Leal, Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center for Denton County and a strong supporter of Jenna's Law, said, "It is exciting to see the bill initiated by Representative Parker moving forward to other states because that only means that more people will be educated and more children will be directed toward the help that Children's Advocacy Centers provide in our country."
The senate bill that advocates for similar prevention methods to Texas' Jenna's Law passed the Illinois Senate and is currently being considered by a State House committee.
Parker said, "I hope to see child sexual abuse prevention legislation pass in Illinois, as well as all fifty states. It is time to properly inform all teachers, students, and parents as to the signs of child sexual abuse and provide the preventative tools necessary in communities to combat this ongoing problem that our nation faces."
Initially elected on Nov. 7 of 2006, Parker represents both rural and urban parts of Denton County which encompass the cities of Flower Mound, Highland Village, Pilot Point, Argyle, Aubrey, Krugerville, Sanger, Cross Roads, Krum, Ponder, Justin, Northlake, Copper Canyon, Double Oak, Bartonville, Trophy Club, Roanoke and portions of Lewisville and Southlake.
Serving his second term in the Texas Legislature, Parker is focusing his efforts on economic development, job creation, further property tax relief, appraisal reform, strengthening border security and immigration policy, promoting fiscally responsible government spending and protecting family values. Parker is the current vice chairman of the Technology, Economic Development and Workforce Committee. He also serves on the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee , the Select Committee on Fiscal Stability, and the Select Committee on Oversight of Health and Human Services Eligibility Systems.