TFDP prepares materials for the Legislature and state agencies in support of policies that improve the criminal justice system. TFDP also publishes policy briefs and implementation guides to inform local officials and communities about new legislation and other policy developments.
Every year, thousands of Texans who have been convicted of drug offenses struggle to rebuild their lives. That struggle is made more difficult by Section 521.372 of the Transportation Code, which was passed in response to a federal mandate requiring states to suspend the driver’s license of anyone who is convicted of a drug offense – regardless of whether that offense had anything to do with driving. This resolution and corresponding bill will allow Texas opt out of the federal mandate and repeal this law, helping to ensure that former drug offenders can get back on their feet and provide for themselves and their families.
We have an ambitious legislative agenda for this upcoming 2019 legislative session. We hope to pass bills that will require courts to consider sentencing alternatives to fines, such as community service and waiver; and repeal and reform programs that result in the loss of driver’s licenses due to inability to pay fines, fees, and surcharges.
Low-income people throughout Texas become trapped in a cycle of poverty and jail when they cannot afford to pay traffic tickets and other citations. S.B. 1913 (Zaffirini) will help low-income Texans across the state escape this cycle by expanding community service and waiver options, limiting incarceration for nonpayment, and removing barriers to drivers licenses and vehicle registration.
License suspensions for unpaid fines, fees, and surcharges are filling our jails with low-income unlicensed drivers. HB 2785 (White, J.) would reduce class B charges for driving with an invalid license to class C misdmeanors, except when the underlying suspension is for driving while intoxicated.
Testimony submitted to the House Committee Committee on Appropriations in support of increased funding for indigent defense services.