The Legislature doesn't need to do anything for the Driver Responsibility rules recently proposed in the Texas Register to pass, but as mentioned last Friday, there may be a need for them next spring to reconcile the indigence program at DPS with the one that will launch in the courts in September 2011, preferably by having the Department of Public Safety waive charges for indigents as the Legislature directed courts to do beginning next year.
- Interim Charge #3: Monitor the Driver Responsibility Program and consider methods for overall improvement of the program.
- Interim Charge #4: Study the statutory definition, duties, and authority of a Texas peace officer.
As for the duties and definitions of a peace officer, regular readers know I'd like to see Texas limit authority of constables to process serving and bailiffs duties: Mission creep at these agencies costs local taxpayers and reduces overall accountability. What's more, the ever-increasing list of different types of specialized police agencies deserves to be whittled down substantially - a theme discussed on this blog nearly since its inception - as does the overall number of agencies. There are 2,615 different entities currently employing peace officers licensed by the state.
That said, the Lege discusses this topic every session, everyone seems to agree there are too many agencies and different types of cops, then inevitably MORE specialized agencies are approved instead of taking any off the list. I'd be (pleasantly) surprised if next year is any different, but the discussion at the hearing should be interesting.
UPDATE: See initial coverage from the Dallas News and written testimony (pdf) from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.