Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More on HB 8 and TYC

Instead of trying to write something comprehensive myself, I'll reference the intelligent posts by several fellow bloggers:

Delay made Jessica's Law worse by Grits for Breakfast

Two out of three ain't bad by the Texas Observer Blog

And tons of posts by Capitol Annex

HB 8's tougher sentencing laws, though well intentioned, will indeed make it tougher for children to speak up, especially in smaller communities where many citizens know each other. The attention that a trial and 25 year sentence would draw would make it harder for children to speak up. The shame of the event would encourage kids to keep their mouths shut for fear of other kids finding out and ridiculing them for the remainder of their K-12 education. No, this is not an appropriate tribute for Jessica Lunsford.

However, this didn't prevent Rep. Riddle from accepting an award for passing the bill: "I want to thank my staff, my husband...." My goodness.

On a related note, Jim Dunnam (D-Waco) tried to call up HB 2340 before the HB 8 debate that would establish a conservatorship for TYC, but Speaker Craddick shot that down with a simple, "No." Instead, Dunnam attached an amendment providing a second-degree felony for any state employee who know of sexual assaults but fail to report them. This section may not make it to the Governor's desk with the rest of the bill.

Interestingly, Gov. Perry is still reluctant to overhaul TYC. However, as Kuff points out, Perry has ordered the Lege to act quickly to fix some of the problems making headlines across the state. According to the post, Rep. Madden is eager to hear some bills and get them on the floor soon.


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