Friday, February 25, 2005

Bill to abolish drug task force system filed

More detail later, but HB 1239 was filed this week by Rep. Terri Hodge to abolish Texas' drug task force system. That proposal was a key recommendation by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, on which Rep. Hodge sits, but the bill was somewhat oddly referred to the House Corrections Committee. Maybe that's because they want to use Byrne grant money to pay for probation services.

The bill forbids funding for multijurisdictional drug task forces in their current form, but would allow local governments to finance collaborative drug units that are 100% under the command and control of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Even then, local officers couldn't routinely work outside their own jurisdiction unless they were partnered with another officer.

Last session, Rep. Terry Keel filed a similar bill, HB 801, which garnered significant bipartisan support. The bill itself was never heard in committee, but Chairman Keel amended its substance onto three separate pieces of legislation on the House floor, including the state budget. The provision was narrowly peeled off in conference committee.

No comments: