A compromise bill in the state Senate would permit the death penalty for offenders who repeatedly prey on children.
Backers of tougher punishment for child-sex offenders distributed the compromise bill yesterday to members of the Senate for possible debate this week.
It would allow the death penalty only for those twice convicted of raping a child 13 or younger.
It also boosts mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of sex crimes against children.
The House passed its version of the bill last month. That version carries a minimum of 25 years to life in prison on a first conviction and possibly the death penalty for a second offense.
A spokesman for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst says the goal of the bill is to send a message to child predators that such crimes won't be tolerated.