An aide to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff forwards this letter sent to Governor Rick Perry (pdf) asking him to support HB 2391 by Madden/Seliger (discussed on Grits here and here). Judge Wolff, who's pretty much a San Antonio political icon, describes the impact HB 2391 could have in his county if the Governor allows it to become law:
in the seven day period between May 19th and May 25th law enforcement agencies here in Bexar County arrested 958 people on misdemeanor offenses. If the bill had been in effect and the local law enforcement organizations utilized it to issue summons on only those charged with misdemeanor traffic ticket and driving with license suspended offenses, Bexar County jail's population would have been reduced by 194 inmates and saved the County nearly $10,000 per day in operational expenses.Wolff's aide assured me the estimates of costs savings for Bexar County are "very conservative," but admitted that "The open question will be if we can convince SAPD to change their arrest policies," he said. Since the option, though, is a jail needlessly filled with low-level non-violent and traffic offenders, I certainly join Judge Wolff in hoping Governor Perry gives law enforcement this option.
Just as the State continues to struggle to meet increased demand for prison beds, Texas counties continue to struggle to meet demand for jail beds. HB 2391 provides a needed tool to address this issue and I respectfully request for you to allow this important piece of legislation to become law.