Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Shift in Focus

This afternoon in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Chairman John Whitmire abandoned his own omnibus probation reform bill in favor of the House version, which Whitmire calls "much more moderate."
HB 2193, authored by Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, passed off the House floor Friday. Whitmire says he could have passed his own bill if he had more time, but due to the quickly impending end of the session and "a lot of misinformation about both bills," he has turned his attention to the version that has already passed through the House in order to expedite the process.
This move may also help Whitmire bypass possible consequences of defeating a number of enhancement bills in his committee. In March, Whitmire promised to kill enhancement bills that would generate large numbers of prisoners for the already overcrowded prison system in Texas. Bypassing the House with his own bill could also help Whitmire bypass any possible retribution effects of his bold actions on enhancement.