Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Quanell X condemns alleged sexual exploitation of children in DFPS care by foster care system employees
The Texas Rainbow PUSH Coalition has organized an “Emergency Call to Action” press conference Tuesday in response to reports of children in the Department of Family and Protective Services’ care allegedly being sexually exploited and trafficked by employees in the foster care system.
Federal judges won’t halt Texas primary in state Senate district being challenged for alleged discrimination
The redrawn state Senate District 10 splits Black and Hispanic voters in Tarrant County. A full trial on whether GOP lawmakers intentionally discriminated against voters of color is expected later this year.
Texas governor approves state voting maps redrawn by GOP
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed redrawn voting maps that pave a safer path for the GOP’s slipping majority, leaving opponents hoping courts will block the newly gerrymandered districts before they can be used in the 2022 elections. Abbott signed the maps Monday, according to a spokeswoman for the governor. Civil rights groups have already filed federal lawsuits that accuse GOP mapmakers of disenfranchising Hispanic and Black residents who are driving the state’s rapid growth.news.yahoo.com
Republicans say Texas’ political maps are ‘race blind’
As they devised political maps to maximize their hold on power for another decade, Texas Republicans laid the foundation for a crucial argument they may need in defending their handiwork against multiple legal challenges claiming they are discriminating against Texans of color.myrgv.com
Republicans say Texas’ new political maps are “race blind.” To some voters of color, that translates as political invisibility.
With partisan fervor, Republicans drew new maps for Congress and the Legislature that dilute the power of voters of color. Now the lawsuits begin, as groups that feel marginalized battle for representation in the halls of power.
Texas Senate approves congressional map that draws no new Black or Hispanic districts even as people of color fueled population growth
Texas gained two new seats in Congress based on population growth fueled by people of color. But the Senate’s proposal provides no new majority-Black or majority-Hispanic districts to reflect that growth.
Senate approves map cementing GOP dominance in upper chamber, dividing up Tarrant county’s voters of color
Democrats criticized Republicans for “targeting” a North Texas district that had been trending Democratic and for not drawing any new districts where people of color would represent a majority of eligible voters.
Texas House, Senate Committees Advance Bill Making It Harder To Bond Out Of Jail Pretrial – Houston Public Media
House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 6 would bar a defendant from being released on a personal recognizance bond if charged with committing a violent or sexual crime, or if charged with committing a crime while already out on bond.houstonpublicmedia.org
Drivers who hit someone in a crosswalk in Texas could now face prison time thanks to new law named after Fort Bend County woman
Not many days after Lisa Torry Smith died in 2017, after family members learned it was not a crime in Texas to drive into someone in a crosswalk, they decided the law needed to change.
A year after George Floyd’s murder, only a few of Texas lawmakers’ police reform measures appear likely to become law
Narrowly targeted pieces of Texas’ George Floyd Act — like restricting chokeholds and requiring officers to provide first aid — are expected to pass. But the Act itself and many other related reforms have failed to progress during the legislative session that ends Monday.
Texas Senate approves bail bill that would keep more people in jail if they can’t post cash bonds
The Texas Senate on Wednesday approved the chamber’s priority legislation that aims to keep more people accused or previously convicted of violent crimes in jail before trial unless they can post cash bonds.
The Texas Senate has approved a new statewide appeals court. Critics contend it's another attempt to limit Democrats' power.
Proposed GOP Bail Legislation Would Put Harris County At Legal Risk, Texas Senators Hear – Houston Public Media
A new GOP-backed bill in the Texas Senate to restrict the use of bail for certain defendants would put Harris County at risk of violating a federal mandate, according to testimony from a county official on Thursday. But if it passes without including some form of indigent defense relief, it could pose a serious problem for Harris County, as Colin Cerupan of the Harris County Justice Administration Department testified: The county is currently bound to the terms of a settlement from a landmark case — O’Donnell v. Harris County — which found its use of misdemeanor cash bail practices unconstitutional. “SB 21 would require Harris County to violate federal consent decrees, exposing Harris County to costly litigation, like O'Donnell, which cost Harris County taxpayers $60-$100 million,” Cepuran said. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg testified in support of the bill, arguing that, in 2015, about 3,200 offenders out on bond were accused in 6,348 crimes. "I know about the O'Donnell case and the Russell case," Huffman said, referring respectively to the lawsuits against Harris County over misdemeanor and felony bail practices.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texas Republican Lawmakers Take Aim At Local Bail Practices This Legislative Session – Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media spoke with him through the courtesy of the Texas Jail Project and Brothers In Arms. "I've put in all kind of motions to get a bond reduction, PR bond," Evans said. If I'm going to do a bail bond bill, it's going to be comprehensive." It's unlikely any bail reform bill would pass without his support. Discussions of bail reform are sometimes muddled, with a tendency to conflate Harris County's misdemeanor bail reform — which has been in place since the adoption of Harris County's Rule 9 two years ago — with felony bail reform, which is still the subject of an ongoing court dispute.houstonpublicmedia.org
Harris County got rid of cash bail for minor crimes. GOP lawmakers want to walk that back.
BAIL REFORM: Bond companies sue Harris County judges, sheriff over new bail rulesLetting them out does not appear to increase the chances they will be arrested for new crimes, according to researchers who have been tracking changes made to the Harris County misdemeanor bail system. Bettencourt and Huffman have criticized Harris County judges for releasing most people on no-cost personal recognizance, or PR, bonds. “Other policy initiatives — not renewed reliance on cash bail — will be required to halt the increase in violence,” a memo to county commissioners said. “People want to come to court, and the vast majority of people do,” said Harris County Criminal Court Judge Franklin Bynum. The Harris County court monitor report said homeless people were twice as likely to be arrested while out on bond than other defendants.chron.com
Harris County got rid of cash bail for many people accused of minor crimes. GOP lawmakers want to walk that back.
AdBettencourt and Huffman have criticized Harris County judges for releasing most people on no-cost personal recognizance, or PR, bonds. “Other policy initiatives — not renewed reliance on cash bail — will be required to halt the increase in violence,” a memo to county commissioners said. Critics of bail reform efforts and the bail bonds industry — which is dependent on cash bail systems — have often pointed to less people showing up to court as an argument against bail reform efforts. “People want to come to court and the vast majority of people do,” said Harris County Criminal Court Judge Franklin Bynum. The Harris County court monitor report said homeless people were twice as likely to be arrested while out on bond than other defendants.
Despite committee’s recommendation, ending Texas’ partisan judicial elections looks unlikely
The Texas Supreme Court on Jan. 15, 2020. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas TribuneTexas looks unlikely to change its controversial partisan election system for judges — even after a commission studying the issue recommended ending the practice. And in Republican primaries, judicial candidates with Hispanic-sounding surnames have often fared poorly, owing, experts say, to a largely white electorate. Those who favor partisan judicial elections have pointed out that they may work better in rural counties, where voters are electing fewer judges and it’s easier to learn their qualifications. Aside from the bias of partisanship, one of the chief concerns about the state’s partisan judicial selection system is the influence — perceived or actual — of donors who bankroll judges’ campaigns. Huffman, a powerful figure in the Texas Senate, said earlier this month she had already begun drafting a constitutional amendment that would increase judicial qualifications.
Analysis: When mapmaking Texas politicians are smiling and quiet, pay attention
This one is about redistricting — how the state draws its political maps — and it fits the pattern. Political maps are the foundation of who does and doesn’t have a voice in a democracy. Asked whether a Republican House and Senate, with a Republican governor, can be expected to draw maps that favor Republicans, neither lawmaker agreed. Sure enough, they draw maps that increase their chances of success — not only in elections, but in the government decisions that follow. Republicans draw Republican maps.
It could take 3 months to clear Lake Jackson’s drinking water system of brain-eating amoeba, officials say
LAKE JACKSON, Texas – The road to drinkable water won’t be a short one in Lake Jackson after a brain-eating amoeba was found in the water system. The discovery initially led officials to issue a do-not-use order for the Brazosport Water Authority. That was later changed to a boil-water notice for the city of Lake Jackson. Officials said they believe BWA’s distribution system is clean and that the issue is limited to Lake Jackson, where 11 of 54 sites tested there showed low levels of disinfectant. Baker said monthly and quarterly testing records for Lake Jackson show nothing of concern leading up to the discovery of the amoeba.