The Austin Chronicle

Bills on the Move

By the News Staff, April 7, 2017, News

• The Senate gave the anti-choice SB 258 (Don Huf­fines, R-Dallas), final approval last Thursday, in a 22-9 vote. SB 258 would require women and health care providers to bury or cremate fetal remains after an abortion, a measure identical to one blocked by a federal judge earlier this year.

• The Senate also passed SB 151 (Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston), which would require voter approval for a municipality to issue pension obligation bonds for a pension fund, on a 21-10 vote.

• The Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Com­mit­tee advanced a bill that decriminalizes marijuana on Monday: HB 81 (Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso) would let police issue a ticket if someone is found with an ounce or less of pot, instead of slapping them with a class B misdemeanor charge and up to six months in jail.

• The Senate Criminal Justice Commit­tee unanimously passed SB 1163 (Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston), which would add an option to donate money toward eliminating Texas' rape kit backlog when applying for a driver's license.

• And on Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 42, which calls for personal protections for judges who have been threatened or attacked. The bill, filed by Sen. Judith Zaffir­i­ni, D-Laredo, is recognized as the Julie Kocurek Judicial and Courthouse Security Act, in recognition of the local judge who survived an assassination attempt at her Tarrytown home in 2015. Kocurek, who returned to the bench last February, was on hand when the Senate voted the bill through.

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