Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Contact: Mike Lavigne, (512) 463-0113

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:

SB 22 will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.