Thursday, April 28, 2005

Burglary of a vehicle debate over. Whitmire wins.

The debate about making burglary of a vehicle a felony (stealing items from a vehicle, not auto theft) is over. It ain't happening this time around.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee, under Chairman John Whitmire's watch, has bottled up bills that would increase prison sentences for vehicle burglary like HB 151 and HB 1324. Today, instead, that committee passed out SB 1874,
introduced just last week and cosponsored by every member of the Senate, to add preventing car burglaries to the duties of the Texas Automobile Theft Prevention Authority. It would not, however, increase penalties.

That's a bold statement about the Senate's intentions on the matter. One would think it's time for House members looking for last-minute prison sentence increases to turn their attentions elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Ann brings the word that SB 1266 - Texas' long-awaited probation reform package, also passed out of the Criminal Justice Committee today. (UPDATE: See SA Express News coverage here.) Congrats to all involved: It was an enormous job, and to my mind a skillful balancing of interests, in the end, by the committee. Maybe this weekend I'll get around to adumbrating the bill.

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