HOUSTON - Repeat violent offenders released on bail to maim and kill - for months, through our "Breaking Bond" reports, FOX 26 has chronicled the scores of fatal crimes committed by defendants with a predatory pattern of hurting others.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Texas House responded with final passage of HB-20, a measure which will make it much more difficult for defendants with a criminal history of violence to gain bond.
160 miles away at the Houston Crime Stoppers Gala Luncheon, the news was met with cautious jubilation.
"People are afraid to go out at night. People are afraid of home invasions. People are afraid at what's going on, the murders, the gunfire," said Houston City Council Member Michael Kubosh.
Citing a doubling of the crime rate in portions of his precinct, Harris County Commissioner Tom Ramsey welcomed news of the hardline drawn by legislators.
"If you can add to it, if you can enhance it, you can even broaden, it would be better, but pass the bill, get something passed, give us some relief," said Ramsey.
Critics of felony bond reform claim the measure discriminates against low income defendants - an argument which drew a scathing rebuttal from those who've seen 116 Harris County residents murdered by repeat violent offenders released on bond.
"I think that the bill is a great first step to try to bring back sanity into our system, common sense in our system. If you hurt somebody, you are not going to be able to hurt them anymore," said Jack Cagle, Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 4.
"Misdemeanor bond reform is over and done with. We are concerned about dealing with big boy offenders," said Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston.
HB-20 now moves to the Texas House for consideration with 26 days remaining in the legislative session.