TDCAA Legislative Update: Week 18, Part I

May 6, 2019

Sorry for spamming you one day after sending you a weekend update, but we are reacting to news as it happens and have information to pass along that may interest you.

Judicial branch pay raises

House Bill 2384 by Leach/Huffman, the tiered pay raise bill that currently includes district and county attorneys, has been set for a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. We do not yet know what version will be rolled out at that hearing, but we do know that the sponsor of the bill—who is also the chairwoman of the committee—intends to change the House’s language to bring the fiscal cost of the bill under the (as-yet-unpublicized) threshold set by the budget conference committee (on which she also sits). She has also instructed her committee staff to share with us the new language when it is returned by the drafters on Wednesday afternoon. Our plan is to review that language and let you know on Wednesday evening where everyone stands—and then you can take it from there.

If you have questions about any of this, contact Rob.

Committee hearings

As we mentioned yesterday, hearing notices are being posted and re-posted with little notice as we near the end of session. Here’s what has been added or changed since our previous update:

Tuesday, May 8

Senate Agriculture – 9:00 a.m., Room 2E.20

  • HB 1325 by T. King/Perry to legalize hemp and hemp products

Wednesday, May 8

House State Affairs – 8:00 a.m., Room E2.014

  • SB 702 by Bettencourt requiring the reporting of expenditures for local gov’t lobbying activities
  • SB 1577 by Alvarado prohibiting the settlement of certain sexual harassment claims with public funds

Senate Criminal Justice – 8:30 a.m., 2E.20 (Betty King Committee Room)

  • HB 8 by Neave/Nelson expanding the required testing of evidence in sex crimes
  • HB 226 by Krause/Hughes revising/repealing various criminal laws outside the Penal Code
  • HB 427 by Shaheen/Hughes reducing the punishment for tampering with a price tag
  • HB 446 by Moody/Perry legalizing clubs and knuckles
  • HB 869 by Hefner/Hughes relating to gas pump card skimmers and organized criminal activity
  • HB 979 by Hernandez/Perry allowing DNA to be taken upon arrest for assault and unlawful restraint
  • HB 1139 by S. Thompson/Miles requiring a pre-trial hearing to determine intellectual disability in a death penalty case
  • HB 1279 by Allen/Menendez correcting certain jury instructions regarding parole and good time
  • HB 2502 by Moody/Watson imposing minimum jail time as a condition of probation for certain hit-and-run cases resulting in death
  • HB 2624 by Perez/Zaffirini to facilitate the prosecution of certain fraud crimes
  • HB 2758 by Hernandez/Huffman limiting community supervision for certain human trafficking- and prostitution-related crimes
  • HB 3106 by Goldman/Huffman requiring sex crime investigation information to be entered into certain databases

Thursday, May 9

Senate State Affairs – 9:00 a.m., Senate Chamber

  • HB 98 by M. Gonzalez/Huffman to narrow the revenge porn offense
  • HB 504 by Dutton granting certain employment protections for jury service
  • HB 1028 by Guillen increasing certain punishments during disaster declarations
  • HB 1168 by Anchia revising the offense of possessing a weapon in an airport
  • HB 2164 by Burns imposing civil and criminal penalties for establishments that bar officers from carrying firearms
  • HB 2384 by Leach/Huffman increasing salaries for certain judicial branch officers
  • HB 2789 by Meyer/Huffman create an adult “sexting” crime for explicit images
  • SB 2365 by Hughes protecting parental rights in CPS cases

In case you were curious, there are no other elected prosecutors signed up to volunteer for legislative duties the rest of this session, so if you have an interest in any of these bills listed above you should consider taking matters into your own hands.

Quotes of the Week Quote of the Day

“If you can’t beat them, silence them.”

Bennet Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, expressing his opinion on the motivation behind bills this session that would limit the involvement of locally-elected officials in the legislative process.