Friday, February 01, 2013

Senate Finance takes first-cut look at judiciary, criminal-justice budgets next week

Looking forward to next week, here are a few key, early criminal-justice related legislative hearings coming up at the Texas Legislature, particularly related to the budget:

The Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony at 10 a.m. on Monday regarding budgets for Texas courts including the Texas Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals (which manages high-dollar grants for prosecutor and defense lawyer CLEs in addition to their own budgets) as well as all the intermediary appellate courts. Also on the dock along with the judges: the Office of Court Administration, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission, the State Prosecuting Attorney, the Office of Capital Writs, the Commission on Judicial Conduct, and the State Law Library.

On Thursday at 9 a.m., Senate Finance will consider the budgets of Department of Public Safety, TDCJ, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the new Juvenile Justice Department, TABC, TCLEOSE, and will discuss a "Special Provision Relating to Public Safety and Criminal Justice Agencies." Be there or be square.

At the 11 a.m. Nominations Committee meeting on Monday, the Committee will evaluate four Forensic Science Commission nominees prosecutor Richard Alpert, defense attorney Bobby Lerma, and medical examiners Drs Nizam Peerwani and Chairman Vincent Di Maio. TABC Commissioner Steven Weinberg's nomination is on this list. Also, several of the Governor's appointments to fill vacant judicial slots are up, including Judges Bradley Hart and Wesley Ward in Harris County, as well as the District Attorney for Aransas and San Patricio Counties Michael Welborn.  Wesley David Lloyd is up for confirmation for the Board for Lease of Texas Department of Criminal Justice Lands (which is an entity that hadn't been on Grits radar screen before now, but whose next meeting will be webcast on February 5).

BTW, for those interested in the state of the state's economy and an overview of the task House budgeters face,, tune in online to the early morning House Appropriations Committee meeting on Monday at 9:00  a.m. to hear invited testimony regarding "the state economy and House budget recommendations, including Medicaid and the Foundation School Program." Could be an interesting hearing, though a little off topic to the issues this blog covers.

All these hearings will be archived online, House and Senate, if you want to listen to them later. Go here to watch the Senate hearings live, here for the House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just hope the Director Steve McCraw and his management staff go to bat for the Troopers before the Senate Finance Committee. We are in desperate need of a pay raise. This need has been documented by the comptrollers office and in the media. But, something tells me Director McCraw will go into the Senate asking for more unnecessary hardware and toys such as river gunboats, aerial drones and other military style hardware. Meanwhile, he tells his flock of Troopers he is fighting hard for a pay raise for us while our vacancy rate hovers around 450.