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HB 2569 set for County Affairs hearing on Thursday

HB 2569, Rep. Armando Martinez's bill that would provide some accountability measures to private jails, will be heard as part of the County Affairs agenda this Thursday, March 31st, at 10:30am or adjurnment (most likely sometime in the afternoon).  I'll be attending and testifying at the meeting, and I expect that criminal justice reform groups will be joined by the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas and other jailer organizations in supporting the bill.

As we reported, HB 2569 is one of two bills on private jails filed by "Mando" Martinez, and is very similar to last session's HB 3903 that was effectively killed on the House floor.  HB 2569 would similarly subject private jails to the same open records law as public facilities, mandate that counties hold hearings before privatizing their county jails, and make it illegal for public officials such as sheriffs to be on the payrolls of private prison corporations. 

HB 2072, another bill filed by Rep. Martinez, was given a hearing several weeks ago in front of the same committee, to a cool reception.  Most of the opposition was based on the fact that bill gave more power to collective bargaining units in jails when it came to privatization decisions, and the bill was strongly opposed by the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Conference on Urban Counties.  Committee members may be able to build a bigger consensus behind HB 2569 on Thursday.  We'll keep you posted on develoments on these two bills.