TCJE in the News

Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Madison Kaigh, Communications Manager, at mkaigh@TexasCJE.orgor (512) 441-8123, ext. 108.


Texas criminalizes homeless camping on public grounds

The Texas state legislature, which convenes only on odd years, passed 666 new laws which went into effect on September 1, 2021. Of course, all of these laws have been subject to national scrutiny, though some yield more controversy than others. This week, The Conversation will focus on one such bill: HB1925 which criminalizes homeless camping on public grounds. This bill requires that homeless individuals receive approval from an officer or political official prior to camping on any public land, or else they will be charged with a class C misdemeanor and fined $500. 

Read the rest of this article from The Stute.

San Antonio plans to send a cop to all mental health calls, but activist groups want an alternative

Local and national activist groups are calling on San Antonio officials to reject a plan to send a police officer, along with a mental health clinician and a paramedic, to respond to 911 calls involving mental health. A new, local police reform organization called Accountability, Compassion and Transparency for San Antonio (ACT 4 SA) and more than a dozen groups want guns and badges taken out of the first-response equation, according to an open letter sent to city leadership on Tuesday.

Read the rest of this article from the San Antonio Report.

As fentanyl deaths soar, few Texas police departments tapping grants for life-saving Narcan

It has taken years of grief counseling to help Annie Hernandez openly discuss the loss of her son. Joshua died in 2019 in Austin, after unknowingly taking a Xanax pill laced with fentanyl. He was 33 and had been in a car accident that led to a painkiller addiction, she said. But his life could have been saved by Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote that can quickly halt the deadly effects of narcotics, Hernandez said.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Releases 2021 Bill Analysis Guide

Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released a guide analyzing positive justice legislation that became law during Texas’ 2021 regular session. The majority of bills go into effect on Wednesday, September 1.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Issues Statement on Bail Bill Rushed Through Senate Committee, Raises Concerns for Public Input During Special Texas Legislative Session

On the first day of the Texas Legislature’s second special session of 2021, the Senate suspended legislative 24-hour posting rules for the announcement of a public hearing. Just hours after the new special session began, the Senate Jurisprudence committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 6 and Senate Joint Resolution 3, bills that will affect hundreds of thousands of Texans.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Austin mayor, council member respond to 'Save Austin Now' policing petition

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and City Council Member Greg Casar are responding to Save Austin Now’s #MakeAustinSafe initiative, calling it a “far-right-wing police mandate.” Last week, the political action committee submitted its police-related petition for an ordinance to be on the November 2021 ballot. Adler and Casar said in a press release the ordinance would “slash funds” for city services including EMS, mental health care and parks services.

Read the rest of this article from KVUE.

Austin youth re-entry program has 15% recidivism rate, compared to 75% nationwide

Raised on the streets, the sound of gunshots is just down the road from one group of teens in northeast Austin. Around the corner, a friend is being held at knifepoint. But one nonprofit in Austin is determined to show these youths another way to live. “I had to choose a better route. I was stuck in my ways, doing what I wanted to do,” said Antonio Martinez, 21.

Read the rest of this story from KXAN.

‘Paid $10 for his death.’ A Cedar Park family’s warning about fentanyl

Becky Stewart was looking forward to a Saturday with her son Cameron in mid-March. The two planned to drive down from Williamson County, stroll around Zilker Park in Austin, maybe visit a food truck. Cameron, at 19, was Becky’s youngest son. He was bright, charismatic, entrepreneurial. He had decided to take a pause before college to explore starting a business.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

With more than 25K signatures on petition, Austin voters may be able to decide on ‘re-funding police’

The nonprofit organization behind a petition to increase policing in the city of Austin says it’s received more than 25,600 signatures — making the proposed changes eligible for the November 2021 election. The local political action committee Save Austin Now began the petition in May and now says it’s completed the drive it hopes will make several changes to “#MakeAustinSafe.”

Read the rest of this story from KXAN.

Overhaul of state bail system on the rocks after Democrats break quorum

A proposal for overhauling the Texas bail system gained steam at the legislature over the weekend before stalling dead in its tracks Monday when Democrats left the state to deny GOP lawmakers a quorum. The quorum break targeted an unrelated election bill similar to Senate Bill 7, which Democrats killed using the same quorum-busting tactic in May. 

Read the rest of this article from The Austin Bulldog.

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