Sunday, July 08, 2007

Comment on agency rules and plans, CCA gives grants for tech support, continuing legal ed

Not a lot of people read the Texas Register or participate in agency rulemaking, but rules created to implement a law can be just as important to what happens out in the real world as what laws are passed by the Legislature.

DPS Seeks Public Comment Revamping Rules
The Texas Department of Public Safety gave notice in the Texas Register Friday that it intends to revamp several key sections of its own rules in the Texas Administrative Code. According to the Texas Register:
Pursuant to Government Code, §2001.039, the Texas Department of Public Safety (department) files this notice of intent to review and consider for readoption, amendment, or repeal 37 TAC Chapter 3 (Texas Highway Patrol), Chapter 4 (Commercial Vehicle Regulations), Chapter 5 (Criminal Law Enforcement), and Chapter 25 (Safety Responsibility Regulations).

The department will determine whether the reasons for adopting or readopting these rules continue to exist. Each rule will be reviewed to determine whether it is obsolete, whether the rule reflects current legal and policy considerations, and whether the rule reflects current procedures of the department. Any changes to these rules as a result of the rule review will be published in the Proposed Rules section of the Texas Register .

Written comments relating to this rule review will be accepted for a 30-day period following publication of this notice in the Texas Register . Comments should be directed to Pat Holmes, Inspector, Office of General Counsel, Texas Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 4087, Austin, Texas 78773-0140.

It's hard to tell what the purpose of the proposed review is from these vague comments, but any specific rule changes will be posted in the Register before they're adopted. For now, check out chapters 3, 4, 5 and 25 of the DPS section of the TAC and let DPS know at the above address if you've got comments or suggestions for changing rules in those sections. Part of chapter 5 , for example, involves the "Threats Against Peace Officers" database created by the Legislature in 2001. When I was at ACLU I provided comments to DPS during the original round of rulemaking, which I've located and put online here.

Chance for input on Texas substance abuse funding
Similarly, the Department of State Health Services is requesting public comments on their "intended use plan" for a grant application to the feds for substance abuse treatment funds that make up 85% of state treatment money. Here's the plan on which they want comments. It doesn't contain much focus at all on offender re-entry or drug treatment needs in the criminal justice system, so if anyone wanted to provide DSHS with a broader perspective in that regard this would be a good opportunity.

Court of Criminal Appeals Announces Grant Programs
Finally, in last week's Texas Register the Court of Criminal Appeals announced two grant programs aimed at promoting continuing legal education that may interest some Grits readers:

The Court of Criminal Appeals announces the availability of funds to be provided in the form of grants to entities for the purpose of providing continuing legal education courses, programs, and technical assistance projects for: prosecutors, prosecutor office personnel, criminal defense attorneys who regularly represent indigent defendants in criminal matters, clerks, judges, and other court personnel of the appellate courts, district courts, county courts at law, county courts, justice courts and municipal courts of this State, or other persons as provided by statute. Funds are subject to the provisions of Chapter 56 of the Texas Government Code and the General Appropriations Bill (House Bill 1) 80th Legislature, Regular Session. The grant period is September 1, 2007 through August 31, 2008. The deadline for applications is July 20, 2007. ...

The Court of Criminal Appeals also announces the availability of $150,000 in funding to be provided in the form of grants to entities for the purpose of providing continuing legal education courses, programs, and technical assistance projects on actual innocence for: criminal defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, judges, law enforcement officers, law students, bailiffs, constables, warrant officers, or other persons as provided by statute. Funds are subject to the provisions of Chapter 56 of the Texas Government Code and the General Appropriations Bill (House Bill 1) 80th Legislature, Regular Session, Article IV, page IV-6, rider 8. The grant period is September 1, 2007 through August 31, 2008. The deadline for applications is July 20, 2007.

Applicants may request an application packet by phone, mail, or in person. The phone number is (512) 475-2312, and the address is: Court of Criminal Appeals, Judicial Education Program, 201 West 14th Street, Austin, Texas 78701.

2 comments:

don said...

TDCJ administers the funding for most of the corrections programs. State Health Services funds private non-profits like Austin Recovery Center. Very few corrections type programs go through TSHS.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You speak of what is. Why not dream of what could be?

Our jails and prisons are de facto substance abuse and mental health treatment centers now, corrections may as well get access to the big substance abuse and behavioral health funding, IMO. It's not like it's really separate in real life, just on the government flow chart.