Senate panel approves safety bill

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A Senate committee has passed a bill that would beef up safety measures to protect residents in Texas state homes for the mentally disabled.

The bill includes new levels of investigation of abuse claims, better training for staff and video surveillance in common areas of the residences known as state schools.

Texas has 13 state schools serving nearly 5,000 residents. A federal report in December outlined hundreds of cases of abuse and neglect.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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