Friday, February 01, 2019

Considering long DPS license-center lines and ballooning prison-healthcare costs at House Appropriations

The Texas House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday will consider two items this blog has covered quite a bit heading into session: Long lines at DPS driver's license centers, and prison healthcare costs. For any staffers reviewing in preparation for the hearing, here's some background on those two topics:

Reducing DPS License-Center Lines
In the Texas Senate, the conversation centered almost entirely around how much money the Legislature should spend to expand license-center capacity. But they should also be considering ways to reduce the number of people in line, whose volume is exacerbated by hundreds of thousands of people with suspended licenses trying to get legal. Here are some suggestions for tackling that problem:
Texas ranks near the bottom among states in per-prisoner healthcare spending. The state has under-funded prison healthcare for years, with increases over the last couple of sessions never quite making up for draconian cuts in prior sessions. Texas can't reasonably cut further. The only reliable way to reduce healthcare costs is to reduce the number of people incarcerated to whom the TDCJ is providing medical care.

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