Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bill postponed restructuring sentences for pot

Thanks to the school finance debate, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee did not hear HB 254 yesterday, as Grits previously predicted. That legislation, filed by Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, would restructure sentences for the lowest-level marijuana possession offenses to mandate fines instead of incarceration. The proposal would generate new revenue and free up much-needed space in county jails across the state.

The delay doesn't say anything about the relative chances for the bill's passage -- the committee just never got to meet.

See the
fact sheet reformers are using to promote the bill, plus prior Grits coverage.


Taylor said...

I received an email from Texansformedicalmarijuana that the last day for the Senate to file bills is this Friday.

Does this implicate that if no identical bill in the senate is filed for HB 254 and HB 658 they have no chance of becoming law this session?

If so we really should be calling our Senators about now.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Taylor, Friday is the last day for bill filing in both the House and the Senate. Bills only filed in one chamber can still pass, because once it passes in one chamber it goes to the other one. But obviously, if they're filed in both chambers it demonstrates broader support. Bills filed in both places also have a better shot of passage, for the same reason you have twice the chance of hitting seven if you roll a pair of dice two times instead of once. A lot of weird stuff can happen to kill your bill, so it's good to have a backup. But it's not necessarily a pre-requisite.

That said, if Texans for Medical MJ asked you to call your senator, I'd call. Those gals know what they're doing. :-)