Policymakers respond to pressing justice and safety issues in Texas
This is a preview of our Texas 2036 newsletter that highlights Texas 2036-endorsed justice and safety legislative investments from the 88th Legislature. To receive this weekly look at our work, sign up here.
Investing in the Future of Texas: Justice & Safety 🚔
Taking action: The 88th Legislature responded to pressing justice and safety issues in Texas with important enhancements on policing, the judiciary and child welfare.
Where we stood: Texas 2036 provided a data-driven perspective that supported reshaping the role of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the state’s regulatory body overseeing peace officers.
- This approach also helped address challenges, including the judicial court backlogs and outdated child welfare technology, and fueled the progress of six major legislative efforts, fortified by millions of dollars in investments.
Explore more: Find our top justice and safety legislative highlights below.
Building public confidence in law enforcement
Comprehensive reforms will fundamentally reshape the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, including increased transparency through a new officer misconduct reporting system and a new data infrastructure for officer personnel records and licensing actions.
- Senate Bill 1445 by Sen. Paxton, R-McKinney, and Rep. Goldman, R-Fort Worth, reauthorizes TCOLE until 2031 and boosts accountability among law enforcement.
Modernizing child welfare IT systems
In a first step toward modernizing the state’s child welfare IT system to one that meets federal standards, the Department of Family and Protective Services will report on the funding and timeline requirements needed for a transition.
- House Bill 1 by Rep. Bonnen, R-Friendswood, and Sen. Huffman, R-Houston, which includes the entirety of the state budget, will put the state on the path to upgrade this crucial technology infrastructure, supporting caseworkers and better caring for children.
▶️ Press play
Policy Advisor Luis Soberon discusses important justice and safety legislative successes on our YouTube channel.
Improving court backlogs
The requirement of systematic collection of case-level court data will provide a better understanding of what’s behind persistent and costly court backlogs. The budget included more than $10 million to fund IT services for state courts’ day-to-day functions and to update legacy IT court data collection systems.
- HB 841 by Rep. Ordaz, D-El Paso, and Sen. Middleton, R-Galveston, will position court data to be an asset to the administration of justice, rather than a mere byproduct of the courts.
⚖️ More justice and safety legislation
Other notable Texas 2036-supported legislation will:
✔️ Require the most populous counties to report detailed trial court workload information
✔️ Improve access to criminal history information for criminal justice research
✔️ Reform the judicial retirement system for district and appellate judges to ensure long-term sustainable funding and more!
🤠 It’s your turn, Texas
Which new justice and safety legislation will have the most impact on your community?
💬 A word from a fellow Texan
Last week we asked: Which investments are you looking forward to coming to fruition?
Graham from Fischer, Texas answered: “Drinking water development.”
Learn more about the $1 billion investment to repair the state’s aging, deteriorating water systems and creating new water supplies.
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