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HB 3903

HB 3903, private jail accountability bill, killed on house floor

HB 3903, a private jail accountability bill, suffered an inglorious defeat on the house floor on Tuesday

Amongst those effectively killing HB 3903 were Tracy King, whose district includes several private jails and detention centers, Jim McReynolds, chair of the House Corrections Committee, and Jerry Madden, the former chair of the House Corrections Committee.  The bill was one of over 80 bills to be heard as part of the Local, Consent, and Resolutions calendar. 

HB 3903, filed by Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr., was fairly moderate measure which would have subjected private jails to the same open records law as public facilities, mandated that counties hold hearings before privatizing their county jails, and made it illegal for public officials such as sheriffs to be on the payrolls of private prison corporations.

King, Madden, and McReynolds were amongst seven signatories on a card to remove the bill from consideration and send it back to the Local and Consent Calendar Committee, a move that will ensure the bill's defeat at this late stage in the legislative session.  None has given any public reason for their rejection of the bill.

In coming weeks, we will publish a full list of Texas legislators who have received money from the private prison industry this legislative session.

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HB 3903, private jail accountability bill, to be heard by Texas house

HB 3903, a private jail accountability bill filed by Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr, will be heard by full Texas House tomorrow during the Local and Consent portion of the House session.  The bill takes a number of steps regarding to private jails including:

  1. Subjecting private prison corporations to the same open records law as public facilities.  Currently, private jail records are not subject to open records law,
  2. Mandating public hearings before a county may privatize their jail facilities, and
  3. Making it illegal for a public servant such as a Sherrif to be paid by a private prison corporation in addition to his/her salary.
We will post as soon as we know the results of the house vote tomorrow. 
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