Friday, November 24, 2006

HRO studies sex offenders, immigration, red light cameras as session approaches

Most people who even know about the Texas House Research Organization think of their he-said/she-said analyses of bills published before legislation is voted on by the full Texas House. Over the years, HRO's bill analyses have become important facets of debates on nearly all Texas legislation - frequently they're the primary source of information members have, besides lobbyists, on legislation coming before them.

During the "interim" when the Lege isn't in session, HRO produces more in-depth reports on subjects predicted to spark significant legislation. Three such reports released this year by HRO address issues routinely covered on Grits for Breakfast that will be hotly debated during the 80th Texas Legislature:

Everyone interested in these topics as the Texas Lege approaches should consider these "must reads." After enduring a pitifully ill-informed debate on the subject of red light cameras at the Austin City Council, I wish I'd noticed the red light camera report sooner. Austin city councilmembers disputed as "not substantive" safety issues prominently raised both in the HRO report and in past legislative hearings on the topic. (Of course, councilmembers had already made up their minds before the issue was debated publicly - they all had dollar signs in their eyes.)

I should offer special kudos to Kellie Dworaczyk who authored the immigration and sex offender reports - her work over the years, to my mind, has contributed more to the understanding of complicated criminal justice issues in Texas than any newspaper reporter I can name. Dworaczyk has been doing this quite a while now; she routinely takes on the most difficult, hot-button issues and handles them with aplomb.

Actually, I admire the work of the folks at the House Research Organization more than I can tell you: It's nearly always of very high quality, even bill analyses produced at the height of session when everybody's under a trememdous time crunch. Even more impressive: They seldom fail to tell legislators the most important parts of the story - the parts they DON'T want to hear. How many government agencies can you say that about?


John D. McLauchlan said...

I'd never heard of these folks. Thanks, Grits, for pointing out their work. I'll be bookmarking their site.

800 pound gorilla said...

I was most interested in red light cameras. They seem to be a "gotcha" method of law enforcement and have the "side effect" of generating income for cash strapped localities. IF they operate like the predictable "speed traps" they are placed in areas where the stop light is more of a hindrance than a help - as speed traps tend to be in areas where the limit is too low to facilitate traffic.

I've noticed several school zones [speed limit 20] in areas where schools are fenced, have large drive through areas removed from street and motorists are only a hazard for two hours [if that] each day. Yes, and I do see chicken cars camped out after the children are safely in the building catching motorists who are trying to get to work on time.

There's also another issue. One motorist challenged a ticket from a concealed police car and won. It is now common practice for speed traps to have police/chicken cars in plain view and marked as such. It is only a matter of time before some motorist with cash challenges this practice and wins. If so, cameras will need to be highly visible and stop lights posted.

Of course automated traffic enforcement does free chickens to pursue low income drug addicts and flex their power - giving many chickens a great sense of job satisfaction. It's much more fun going on commando style drug raids and browbeating citizens using banned drugs.

Anonymous said...

Most sex offenders have families, friends, relatives, and children. Some are required to register for much lesser crimes of flashing, prostitution, incest, and a host of other offences.

Contrary to the media’s torch, grouping all registered sex offenders as dangerous. Even the DOJ in a report states American politicians have lied.
This you can find on the Department Of Justice website,
November 2003, NCJ 198281.
Only 3.5% of new sex offences are committed by offender on the sex offender's registry. The remaining 96.5% are committed by unregistered citizens.
See how 3 year old children have been placed on the registry and how citizens are held indefinitely after teir sentence has been served.
See it now on You Tube at

Keith Richard Radford Jr said...

Please watch for our movie in the works by Keith Richard Radford Jr. targeting hate groups who for political reasons use hate to sway public opinion for personal and political gain.
The torture sex offenders have endured wile laws have been misdirected as a smoke screen to further the hate agenda of a nation intoxicated with greed and prejudice's to keep fear alive. Interviews of over 50 sex offenders at many levels of assessment and how they have been used by lawmakers, politicians, and community's, also including many Doctors, Journalists, Ministers, Writers, and other parties offering their solutions to the basic fundamental flaws in the construction of such laws.