Legislative Updates

Each week during Texas legislative sessions, TDCAA recaps the most important news and events. Look to this page for current and past issues of TDCAA’s Legislative Updates.

For information concerning legislation filed during the 87th Regular Session, visit the state legislature’s web site or e-mail Shannon Edmonds, Director of Governmental Relations, or call him at (512) 474-2436.


TDCAA Legislative Update: Week 14.1

April 17, 2021

It wouldn’t be a session without a white-knuckle debate over civil asset forfeiture on the House floor, would it? Read on for details about that and other news that broke after our Friday update went out yesterday.

Floor calendar update

The House Calendars Committee added to the list of bills to be considered by the full House next week, including these “criminal justice reform” bills that will be debated and voted upon on Wednesday (in this rough order):

  • HB 8 by Pacheco relating to peace officer employment history information
  • HB 275 by Moody expanding subsequent scientific writs to punishment issues
  • HB 1002 by Lucio III barring the use of investigative hypnosis
  • HB 1293 by Smithee permitting out-of-time new trials with a prosecutor’s consent
  • HB 252 by Moody revising instructions for special issues in death penalty cases
  • HB 295 by Murr relating to funding for indigent defense services
  • HB 1441 by Schaefer shifting to the State the burden in civil asset forfeiture cases to disprove an innocent owner defense and raising that burden to clear and convincing evidence

All the bills calendared for debate on the House floor can be found here; the list changes daily, so check back for updates as needed.

Calendars Committee bills

House bills that were voted out of committee and sent to the Calendars Committee this week for possible debate on the House floor include:

  • HB 217 by S. Thompson (postconviction DNA testing)
  • HB 834 by S. Thompson (corroboration of undercover drug cops)
  • HB 1005 by Leman (bond conditions for trafficking of adult victims)
  • HB 1717 by S. Thompson (employment lawsuits for firings related to Brady disclosures)
  • HB 2335 by Middleton (prosecutor removal from office)
  • HB 2448 by Canales (bail bond surety discharge after immigration detention)
  • HB 2593 by Moody (lowering penalties for THC edibles, concentrates, etc.)
  • HB 2631 by Krause (limiting use of jailhouse informants)
  • HB 3022 by Herrero (expunctions by statutory county courts)
  • HB 3295 by S. Thompson (DTPA actions against massage parlors by local prosecutors)
  • HB 4422 by T. King (AG opinion requests by a county’s outside counsel).

Remember, when deciding what bills get debated by the full House, the Calendars Committee does not take additional testimony on bills sent to it from other committees, but its members do take input on bills individually. Therefore, if you know any members of that committee, reach out to them and provide input on bills as you see fit.

Committee notices

Below are some relevant committee notices for bills to be heard Tuesday and Wednesday. For Monday’s agenda, see our previous update, and for a full agenda of all the bills to be heard at each meeting listed below, please click the link in the committee’s name below; the text of each individual bill will be accessible on that notice by clicking the bill number.

Tuesday, April 20

Senate Criminal Justice – 8:30 a.m., Capitol Extension Room E1.016
SB 280 by Hinojosa relating to the capital and forensic writs committee
SB 508 by West providing confidentiality for information related to the protection or security of a witness
SB 811 by Schwertner creating a “Good Samaritan” defense to drug possession
SB 945 by Eckhardt criminalizing sexual assault by professional deception
SB 1495 by Huffman relating to street racing
SB 1831 by Taylor relating to human trafficking solicitations on school premises
SB 2190 by Whitmire relating to crimes committed at TJJD facilities

Wednesday, April 21

House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence – 8:00 a.m., E2.014
SB 30 by West authorizing the removal of racially discriminatory language from property records

House Homeland Security & Public Safety – 10:30 a.m. or upon adj., E2.010
HB 1766 by Anchia relating to the unlawful transfer or purchase of certain weapons
HB 2616 by Hernandez relating to public access to certain traffic ticket information
HB 2798 by Wilson relating to not seizing a DL after failure/refusal of an intoxication test
HB 2901 by Rodriguez relating to reporting requirements for in-custody deaths
HB 3654 by Rodriguez revising laws relating to the release or viewing of body cam video

More “Quotes of the Week”

“After those shootings [in El Paso and Midland-Odessa in 2019] … there were roundtable discussions and stakeholder meetings and a lot of promises, and I was hopeful, members—even knowing the political realities, I was hopeful. Members, I’m so tired of doing nothing. … When are we going to do something?”
            —State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), speaking on the House floor in opposition to the passage of HB 1927 by Schaefer (R-Tyler), this session’s permitless carry bill.

“At this point in time, what we have is a bunch of ‘I gotcha’s,’ and—this is my opinion as a criminal defense attorney of about 15 years—this is a criminal justice reform bill and I urge you to support it to keep people out of jail for no reason whatsoever.”
            —State Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), arguing for the passage of permitless carry on the House floor this week. The bill passed the House 87–58 along general party lines, but with seven House Democrats (including Canales) in support and one House Republican opposed. It’s fate in the Senate is less certain.