FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/07/2019
REP. JESSICA GONZÁLEZ FILES CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LEGISLATION
AUSTIN – This session, Texas State Representative Jessica González filed HB 1797, HB 2973, HB 2974, and HB 3757. Each of these bills are significant steps toward making Texas’ criminal justice system fairer.
HB 1797 ensures rent-to-own companies can no longer use the criminal justice system as their debt collectors. By creating an explicit exception to prosecution for these types of rental agreements within state theft statute, HB 1797 saves taxpayer dollars, reduces pressure on our overburdened court system, and protects those who fall into debt from criminal charges.
HB 2973 grants incarcerated or paroled individuals the opportunity to have court-appointed attorney costs reassessed if they can no longer afford the fees. This commonsense bill allows judicial discretion to reduce or waive fees based on the defendant's ability to pay.
HB 2974 bans judges from revoking parole based solely on a defendant's failed marijuana drug test. Even as Texas considers decriminalizing cannabis, hundreds of otherwise law-abiding Texans are sent back to prison on these technical violations to parole. This does not serve the interests of public safety, individual liberty, or racial justice, and it traps defendants in the criminal justice system.
HB 3757 repeals from Texas' landmark police body camera law the provision that allows officers to see all available footage of an incident before issuing a statement. Rep. González shares the concerns of the Dallas County District Attorney's office that this practice damages officer credibility and public trust in law enforcement. HB 3757 restores legislative intent to our body cam laws and protects the interests of both police and civilians.