Lege Notes

Odds and ends (mostly odds) from the 79th

On May 18, the Texas Senate narrowly passed a bill (SB 548) that would require the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to meet in person, or via telephone or video conference call – although not openly – when making clemency decisions in death row cases. Currently, the board is not required to meet as a body or to deliberate at all when deciding life and death issues, and members regularly enter their votes by phone or fax with no discussion. "No matter your stance on capital punishment, I think all Texans can agree that you shouldn't be able to fax in someone's life," SB 548 author Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said in a press release. The bill made it off the Senate floor with a 15-14 vote, but only after a good deal of "compromise." The original bill would've required the board to meet in person, no exceptions, when considering capital case clemency – a suggestion that, while seemingly reasonable, has failed to gain legislative traction during the last three sessions. On a positive note, the bill will require that a record is made of the board's deliberations, a first step toward making the board's dealings more transparent. At press time, the bill was pending in House Corrections Committee; if it makes it out of the House, the new requirements would not take effect until July 1, 2006.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Texas Legislature
85th Texas Legislature Preview
85th Texas Legislature Preview
Can the GOP-run House and Senate get along well enough to get anything accomplished?

the News Staff, Jan. 13, 2017

Top 10 Lege Stories
Top 10 Lege Stories

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 1, 2016

More On the Lege
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Lege Lines: Stretching Toward a Sunset
Don’t praise the Senate GOP for working quickly to pass what’s needed

Mary Tuma, July 21, 2017

Lege Lines
Lege Lines
Sine die at last, transportation, water, and more

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 9, 2013


Texas Legislature, Rodney Ellis, Board of Pardons and Paroles, BPP, SB 548

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle