Capitol Update: House Interim Charge – Criminal Jurisprudence
As the month of October comes to a close, sportsmen and women across the state are counting down the days until the upcoming hunting season. With white-tailed deer and duck season just around the corner, I want to remind all of my fellow hunters to make sure you’ve purchased your hunting license and federal duck stamp before heading to the field. I’d also like to encourage you to consider downloading the Texas Outdoor Annual App, where you can access information about hunting season dates and bag limits for your county, find public hunting lands nearby, and review various hunting regulations, even without internet service. You can also access your hunting and fishing license on your device and even purchase your hunting license through the app. For more information, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .
House Interim Charge: Criminal Jurisprudence
The next stop on our tour of House Committees is the Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. With nine members, the Committee has legislative jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to criminal law, penalties, criminal procedure in the courts of Texas, and revisions or amendments to the penal code. The Committee also oversees two state agencies, the Office of State Prosecuting Attorney and the Texas State Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision.
During the interim, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will monitor the implementation of policies enacted during the 87th Legislative Session and ensure the measures and outcomes are working as intended. For instance, HB 1540 made much-needed changes to human trafficking laws by strengthening protections for victims and adding additional investigatory resources for prosecutors. While the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force has made significant progress in combatting human trafficking offenders, this bill serves to bolster our efforts by providing additional resources to the ongoing fight against human trafficking.
The Committee will also study reentry and integration programs and make recommendations for reducing employment barriers for certain people with a criminal record. Reentry programs are designed to assist returning citizens who have served their time and are motivated to “reenter” society by competing for a job, attaining stable housing, supporting their families, and contributing to their communities. The study also reviews the length of time certain criminal offenses remain on a defendant’s record and considers the impact of expanding the offenses that qualify for an order of non-disclosure.
The House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will also study the availability of victim services, including community-based trauma recovery, housing and relocation assistance, employment protections, and other services that enhance recovery and safety for victims of violent crimes. Additionally, committee members are charged with making recommendations for streamlining the grant administration process and improving access to community-based services in neighborhoods with the highest crime rates and for victims of violent crimes.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.