Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Stronger probation sails through Texas Senate

An overhaul of Texas' probation system sailed through the Texas Senate yesterday and is now headed to the Governor. (See details here.)

Dean John Whitmire did a good job of explaining how stronger probation would increase public safety when he laid the bill out, defusing much of the criticism before it began, but one must also credit his fellow senators for their restraint. I mentioned earlier that Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley has been the main vocal opponent. Bradley's senator, Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, is perhaps the Senate's most conservative member. Ogden and Sen. Tommy Williams both
vigorously questoned the legislation's details. In the end, though, neither they nor any other senator proposed amending the bill.

Now HB 2193 heads to the Governor. He needs to be encouraged to support the bill, but I'm hopeful he'll sign it. The veto talk appears to be largely media hype, not anything the Governor has personally threatened. If his own state senator won't do so, I fail to see why Rick Perry would feel the need to carry any water for the Williamson County DA.

The Austin Statesman today published dueling op eds from HB 2193's bill sponsors and John Bradley. See also news coverage of the Senate vote from the Statesman and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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