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HB 3903 Moves out of Committee

Bob reported a few weeks back about HB 3903.  Legislators voted the proposed measure out of committee earlier this week.  HB 3903 is important in light of scandals covered on this blog in recent years regarding the bribes taken by county officials. 

The measure:

  • Outlines conditions that county commissioners courts may enter into contracts with private operators to manage local jails; and
  • Creates a state jail felony for receiving a personal benefit from for private jail contracts; and
  • Holds private jails accountable under Texas open records laws.

TPB recognizes that sentencing enhancements contributes to the same flawed social policy approaches that lead to over incarceration in the first place.  We wonder if there is a way to hold corrupt county officials accountable without contributing to another body in another jail cell.  Of course, the answer is easy for elected sheriff's who manage these jails.  And surely there is away to deal with other corrupt county officials that voters don't elect?

According to the fiscal note provided by the Legislative Budget Board, the sentencing enhancement included in the bill would not significantly impact the state's criminal justice system. 

TPB has previously covered bribery scandals in the following posts:

    We will continue to track HB 3903 as it moves.  Stay tuned....


Nicole - thanks so much for your coverage on HB 3903!!