Senator Ellis Passes Major Government Reorganization Bill
Legislation Includes Creation of Innocence Commission
Austin, TX- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) passed Senate Bill 22 out of the Texas Senate today. SB 22 is the omnibus Government Reorganization bill.
"This bill is the result of hours of hard work and negotiating," said Senator Ellis. "SB 22 represents our work towards consensus among my fellow Senators and the leadership of both chambers."
The legislation includes a provision creating an interim Innocence Commission. The nine members of the Joint Interim Committee on Post Conviction Exonerations will represent a cross section of the criminal justice community. The committee will be charged with studying the cause of wrongful convictions and recommend policies to prevent further wrongful convictions.
"The establishment of an innocence commission has become an unfortunate necessity in Texas," explained Senator Ellis. "I believe that this legislation could lead some of the most important criminal justice advances in recent Texas history."
SB 22 contains many State Government streamlining proposals as well a number of proposals that were included within the Governor's call for a special session.
Highlights of this package include:
- An interim study to review the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality's permitting process for streamlining opportunities.
- The requirement that in considering capital cases, the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles shall meet as a body or by participating in a telephone conference call.
- Legislation allowing the Governor to designate a member of the governing body of each state agency as the presiding officer of that governing body.
- Legislative agency reorganization designed to increase oversight over public schools and universities.
- A requirement that state agencies make their printed state publications accessible form the agency's website in an electronic format.
- The Removal of the criminal penalty for the Governor not submitting his budget by a prescribed date.
SB 22 will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.