Good Morning Everyone,
It’s Ana Yáñez-Correa again, and as I gear up for a busy morning in this rainy weather, I just wanted to keep readers apprised of a couple of important hearings today:
The Texas Judicial Council the Office of Court Administration (OCA) will present its Legislative Appropriations Request for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 to the Budget, Planning and Policy Division of the Governor's Office and to the Legislative Budget Board. The Hearing will take place from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm in the Capitol Extension, Room E2.028. I’ll be there presenting testimony focused mainly on funding related to indigent defense. This LAR will reduce the baseline budget for OCA by 5%, critically impacting the efficacy of key programs and, among other things, requiring the agency to reduce grant funding to counties for indigent defense. Although TCJC is concerned about the negative implications that budget cuts will have on OCA’s ability to fully realize its mission, our testimony focuses on the portions of the LAR pertaining to indigent defense, as the right to counsel is mandated by both the state and national constitutions. To view OCI's LAR, please click here.
UPDATE: This meeting has been canceled for today.
Below are our recommendations from the testimony. To view our testimony in full, please click here.
Ø Provide Additional Help to Counties
Ø Solutions to the Budget Cuts
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee, chaired by Senator John Whitmire, is also holding a hearing this morning at 10:00 AM in room E1.016 of the State Capitol. The Committee will meet to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges, both of which should be of interest to Grits readers:
Interim Charge 4: Study and make recommendations related to municipal jails and other detention facilities that operate without state agency oversight. Identify the number of such facilities and the population detained, as well as best practices for municipal jails. Make recommendations to improve services and consider options for oversight of facilities by the
Interim Charge 6: Study and make recommendations to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of testing done in