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113th Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Updated: May 16

This past session has closed. What happened with the bills we supported? Here is a brief summary of where the bills we were interested in stand now.

Our legislative priorities face a steep uphill climb in this legislative environment. There is a strong push from our elected leaders to solve every problem, including issues such as homelessness, unemployment and chronic mental illness, through increased state surveillance and incarceration.

But we've tried mass incarceration as a solution and it simply does not work. It creates more problems than it solves. We remain committed to supporting legislation which seeks to minimize the harm done to individuals and communities through mass incarceration and which seek to address the real underlying causes of problems. We will continue to develop and advocate for solutions which promote health and healing.

Thank you for making calls and sending emails. They really do make a difference and are the reason why our issues still have a chance. Continue talking to your elected representatives at the local and state levels and more importantly, take every opportunity to educate your neighbors, family members and friends on these issues and the work that we are doing.

HB2821/SB2768 - Life Sentence Reduction

This bill was withdrawn, however, work continues behind the scenes to build up support both within the legislature and out in the community. This fight to reduce the life sentence from 51 years to 25 years has been going on for several sessions now and we will continue pressing until we finally succeed.

HB2380/SB2913 - Waiving Payment of Fines/Fees for Applications to Restore Citizenship Rights

After powerful testimony was presented by people who have served their time and have applied to have their rights restored but were denied, the bill passed through the House Criminal Subcommittee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill eventually was referred to Summer Study. Stay tuned for actions you can take to support the bill over the summer.

HB2785/SB2725 - End Felony Murder & Criminal Responsibility

This bill was withdrawn and we are working on rewriting and reconfiguring the bills and mobilizing community support with the intent of bringing the issue up again next session. Once again, we know it will take sustained effort and strategic actions over time to end these practices and we are committed to getting it done.

HB1171/SB0905 - Juvenile Life Sentence Reform

This bill was also withdrawn and work continues to reintroduce this bill sometime in the future.

HB0279/SB0904 & HB1256/SB1241 - Full Restoration of Citizenship Rights

These bills were voted down in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. However, we continue to work on restoring voting and citizenship rights and are not giving up.

HB2833/SB2757 - Restoration of Dignity for the Elderly

This bill was withdrawn.

HB1239/SB1515 - Prohibiting TDOC from Contracting with Private Correctional Service Operators

The bill was assigned to the Senate State and Local Government Committee and was withdrawn from the House Corrections Subcommittee of State Government Committee. No votes were taken on this bill this session.

HB0479/SB0321 - Ending Fees on Telephone Calls to Correctional Facilities and HB7045/SB7105 - Modified Sentencing for Young Adults

These bills were assigned to House and Senate committees but no action was taken on them.

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