Saturday, January 27, 2007

Who's on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committees?

Having examined the makeup of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in more depth, here's a quick take on the assignments to two other important criminal-justice related committees in the 80th Texas House:

On the Corrections Committee, Jerry Madden will remain committee chair with the surprise addition of veteran Houston Democrat Scott Hochberg as vice chair. Madden will lead a seven member committee with a 4-3 Democratic majority, but honestly most of the issues facing the committee this session don't really have a partisan slant to them. Vince thinks Democratic Caucus leader Jim Dunnam's appointment to this committee was an example of Craddick opponents being "benched," and if so I suppose fellow Democrat Rene Oliveira joins in the benching. Democrat Jim McReynolds is CBO with Delwin Jones of Lubbock and Pat Haggerty of El Paso rounding out the GOP members, all of whom were on the committee last time. Haggerty chaired Corrections himself a few years back, and joined Madden and Ray Allen, another past Republican Corrections Chair, to support strengthening the probation system in 2005. On its face, the committee's makeup bodes well for Madden and John Whitmire's proposed revamp of the probation system.

Juvenile Justice and Family Issues
Houston Democrat Harold Dutton will chair what must rank among the oddest of all the Craddick appointment decisions - a nine member, ALL DEMOCRAT Juvenile Justice and Family Issues committee! Craig Eiland, who's smart as a whip, joins the committee as vice chair. The rest are Yvonne Gonzales Toureilles, Mark Strama, Jessica Farrar, and freshmen Valinda Bolton, Ana Hernandez (who won the late Joe Moreno's old seat), Alan Vaught (who is also on Criminal Jurisprudence), and Joe Farias. It'll be interesting to find out, via this committee, what the Democratic agenda on these topics looks like; certainly this appears to be one committee where one would think some Ds could do some business.

Obviously from the inclusion of all the freshmen Ds on the Juvenile Justice and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees (and given Rep. Talton's reaction), Craddick doesn't consider these plum committee assignments. But every aspect of government is important, especially related to public safety and kids, and if Democrats want to show Texas they know how to govern, those committees will give them a platform.

MORE on committee assignments.


Anonymous said...

Small correction - McReynolds is a Democrat.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Corercted it, thanks, Charles.