Summary of Notable Legislation - 81st Legislative Session
Below you will find summaries of some notable bills that TDCJ was following this legislative session that have been signed by the governor.
HB 93 by Hodge - provides an alternative to the forfeiture of good time by allowing TDCJ to suspend good time in disciplinary cases, and to subsequently restore the good time based on good behavior.
HB 221 by Menendez - delays parole eligibility for an inmate serving a sentence for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or murder by three years for every twelve months that elapse between the date the arrest warrant is issued following an indictment and the date the inmate is arrested.
HB 492 by Zerwas - creates an interagency coordinating group of governmental liaisons, as designated by the respective executive directors, that would work with faith and community-based organizations to foster partnerships.
HB 867 by Aycock - transfers approximately 2.26 acres at the Halbert Unit in Burnet to the City of Burnet for the purpose of airport expansion.
HB 963 by Guillen - allows various licensing agencies to provide licenses or provisional licenses to applicants who have certain previous criminal convictions. The provisional license could be revoked if the holder commits a new offense or a violation causing their community supervision or parole to be revoked. The bill also requires the licensing authority to notify the probation or parole department that a provisional license has been issued. The bill excludes any applicant for a license to provide law enforcement, public health, education, safety or financial services who has a previous criminal conviction.
HB 1003 by Bolton - requires TDCJ to notify a victim or witness if the parolee ceases to be electronically monitored, and requires a CSCD to notify a victim or witness when the defendant ceases to be electronically monitored. Notification must be provided 30 days prior to terminating electronic monitoring. The bill is prospective, applying only to conditions imposed on offenders on or after September 1, 2009.
HB 1043 by Orr - specifies the conditions under which state agencies will be required to give hiring and reduction-in-force preference to an individual who was under the permanent managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.
HB 1233 by Menendez - allows a correctional facility with licensed psychiatrists to create a continuity of care plan for those individuals awaiting transfer to residential care or an inpatient competency restoration facility. This change in the law restores the criminal court's jurisdiction pending transfer such that inmates who are in crisis may receive the appropriate medical attention and psychiatric treatment that they need.
HB 1711 by Turner - requires TDCJ to establish a comprehensive reentry and reintegration plan for offenders released or discharged from a correctional facility. The bill also requires TDCJ adopt and implement policies that encourage family unity while an offender is confined, as well as to participate in the offender's post-release or post-discharge transition back to the community. The bill also requires TDCJ to enter into a memorandum of understanding with multiple entities to create a reentry task force.
HB 1721 by Bohac - makes it a crime to take or attempt to take a weapon from an employee or an official of a correctional facility.
HB 1728 by Madden - allows TDCJ's Office of Inspector General to issue an administrative subpoena to a communications common carrier or electronic communication service to compel the production of the carrier's or service's records material to certain criminal investigations.
HB 1736 by Anchia - requires TDCJ to develop a reentry and reintegration plan that would include life-skills, job, and vocational training for a wrongfully imprisoned person following discharge, for as long as the services are beneficial. The bill also requires TDCJ to provide a state identification card and financial assistance to aid in covering living expenses following discharge, administered by TCOOMMI, not to exceed $10,000. The bill provides that the amount of the financial assistance is deducted from compensation provided or damages awarded the person under the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. TCOOMMI is required to develop a plan, using existing case management functions, to assist wrongfully imprisoned persons upon discharge from TDCJ in accessing medical and dental records, obtaining mental health treatment and related support services, and obtaining appropriate transitional support services. TCOOMMI will submit an annual report to the legislature regarding the provision of services to wrongfully imprisoned persons.
HB 1914 by McReynolds - abolishes the existing Private Sector Prison Industry Oversight Authority contingent upon the Bureau of Justice Assistance certifying TBCJ as the new prison industry enhancement (PIE) authority. The bill lowers the cap on the number of PIE program participants at 750 and allows for temporarily exceeding the cap. The bill also adds more extensive notification requirements before contracts are entered into, but exempts existing contracts/programs from the notification requirements. There is a requirement to pay fair market value for lease of property and provisions precluding negative impact on existing employers, but again existing contracts/programs are exempted. The balance of the Private Sector Prison Industry Oversight Account is capped at no more than $1,000,000.
HB 2004 by McCall - requires state and local agencies to notify individuals when their sensitive personal information has been acquired as a result of an unauthorized breach. Agencies must contact persons through various mediums including written or electronic communication. In certain instances, an agency may use other methods for notifying affected parties of breaches of security.
HB 2086 by Moody - makes the offenses of escape, permitting or facilitating escape, introducing or providing implements for escape, and prohibited substances and items in adult or juvenile correctional or detention facility or on property of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or Texas Youth Commission punishable as engaging in organized criminal activity.
HB 2153 by Edwards - expands the jurisdictions in which a person committing an offense under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ch. 62, Sex Offender Registration) may be prosecuted and requires that a person residing at a temporary or unidentified address provide the applicable law enforcement agencies with a detailed description of its geographical location.
HB 2161 by Turner - requires TDCJ to request on behalf of most releasing offenders a personal identification certificate from DPS. The bill requires TDCJ, DPS, and the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to adopt a MOU that establishes the responsibilities related to the verification of the offender's identity. The bill requires TDCJ to reimburse DSHS and DPS the actual costs associated with obtaining the personal ID certificate. A similar requirement is found in HB 2730, the DPS sunset bill, which requires an inmate identification verification pilot program.
HB 2236 by Moody - entitles a victim or the representative for a victim of an assault or sexual assault who is younger than 17 years of age or whose case involves family violence to have the court consider the impact on the victim of a continuance requested by the defendant.
HB 2289 by Madden - requires TDCJ to develop a procedure for releasing offenders from the facility in which they are serving their sentence or from a regional release facility nearest their facility (bill requires no fewer than six regional release sites). The bill allows TDCJ to make exceptions if regional release is not in the best interest of the inmate or would threaten public safety. The bill calls for implementation by 9/1/2010.
HB 3226 by Madden - allows TDCJ to issue payment for use by the inmate or parolee to pay the cost of temporary post-release housing in the offender's legal county of residence at a rate not to exceed the average daily cost of incarceration. TDCJ must also provide for food, hygiene and clothing. TDCJ is directed to pay the cost of housing from funds appropriated for halfway houses. The bill applies to offenders released after 1/1/2010.
HB 3228 by Madden - authorizes TDCJ (and TYC) to own and operate electronic, mechanical or other devices for the detection and monitoring of cell phones, and authorizes the OIG to possess, install, operate and monitor these devices. Jamming devices, to the extent consistent with federal law, are also authorized. The bill also makes it illegal to obtain a cell phone or component part with intent to deliver to an offender, to possess with intent to deliver, to provide another person with a cell phone or component part with intent to deliver to an offender, or to purchase minutes for the offender's use.
HB 3438 by Hodge - provides the Board of Criminal Justice with permissive authority to transfer Dawson State Jail to the City of Dallas for a comparable facility within 20 miles of the Dawson Unit.
HB 3649 by Marquez - requires TDCJ to establish a policy that permits an inmate to receive by mail reference books and other educational materials from a volunteer organization.
HB 3653 by Marquez - prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant inmates or pregnant defendants during labor and delivery or recovery, except where necessary to ensure security and safety, or to prevent escape risks exist.
HB 3671 by Sheffield - deletes the record of arrest as a required item in the pen packet.
HB 3689 by McReynolds - continues TYC and TJPC until 2011, when they will be reviewed again by the Sunset Advisory Commission. The bill also requires TCOOMMI to coordinate with state and local agencies serving juveniles to create a continuity of care system for juvenile offenders with mental impairments.
HB 4451 by McReynolds - authorizes a child discharged from the Texas Youth Commission due to mental retardation or mental illness to qualify for and receive continuity of care services through the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments. The bill authorizes a child who is receiving services through the office as a TYC parolee to continue with treatment until the child reaches the parole completion date.
SB 83 by Nelson - authorizes a victim or parent of a victim of a sexual assault, aggravated sexual or continuous sexual abuse of a child to terminate a lease early and avoid liability if the assault took place at the leased property.
SB 689 by Shapiro - restricts the use of the Internet and social-networking sites by sex offenders.
SB 727 by Patrick, D. - requires a defendant convicted of a felony to submit a DNA sample as a condition of community supervision unless the defendant has already submitted a DNA sample required by other state law. The bill also applies to parolees.
SB 1068 by Wentworth - authorizes certain personal information to be redacted from public information without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general.
SB 1149 by Hegar - permits the Board of Criminal Justice to sell certain land directly to a municipality at fair market value without the requirement of a sealed bid for the expansion of a municipal airport.
SB 1557 by Duncan - requires a sheriff, within a certain time frame after receiving reasonable cause to believe that a defendant committed to the sheriff's custody has a mental illness or mental retardation, to provide written or electronic notice of the information to the magistrate.
SB 1652 by Duncan - requires TDCJ to transfer approximately 222 acres of state property to Mitchell County to be used for a purpose that benefits the public interest.
SB 1844 by Van De Putte - clarifies legislative intent of the statute governing how money from the TDCJ offender phone system is apportioned. The first $10 million collected goes to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund (CVCF). For any funds collected in excess of the $10 million, 50% will go to the CVCF and 50% will go to the general revenue fund.
SB 1847 by Hegar - requires TDCJ to make available to wrongfully imprisoned persons the same programs and services available to an inmate released on parole or to mandatory supervision. The primary benefit to wrongfully imprisoned offenders would be access to TCOOMMI's continuity of care program, which would provide or coordinate services once they are discharged.
SB 2048 by Williams - authorizes the commissioners court in a county with a population of 100,000 or more to designate the sheriff's office, or through an interlocal agreement the office of a chief of a municipal police department within the county, to serve as a mandatory countywide registration location for persons required to register as a sex offender.
SB 2228 by Averitt - requires TDCJ to transfer a 33.37 acre parcel of land and grant utility easements to the property to Coryell County.
SB 2340 by Averitt - allows a court to require any defendant to serve all or part of a sentence in county jail by participating in an electronic monitoring program in lieu of confinement. The program must be operated by a CSCD that serves the county in which the court is located and must have been approved by CJAD, or the commissioners court or by a private vendor under contract with the commissioners court, if the defendant has not been placed on community supervision. The court may revoke participation in the program if the defendant violates a court imposed condition, including a condition that requires the defendant to pay for program participation.