When Texas House Speaker Joe Straus assigned lawmakers to committees last week, he also created two select committees that may eventually impact lawyers and the courts. One will monitor financial transactions of judicial and executive state agencies, and the other will consider rewriting and reorganizing the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
“This vital statute has not been rewritten since 1965. As a result, it has become overcrowded, disorganized, and difficult to navigate, such that there is a pressing need to consider rewriting and reorganizing it,” says Straus’ proclamation creating the House Select Committee on Criminal Procedure Reform.
The proclamation creating the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations says the committee will oversee the operations, purchasing decisions, and hiring and compensation practices of judicial and executive agencies.
Among other committee appointments, Straus on Jan. 31 named members to the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, which handles many bills that affect the legal profession and the court system. The chairman is Rep. Tryon Lewis, R-Odessa, and the vice-chairwoman is Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston. Members include Reps. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown; Lance Gooden, R-Terrell; Ana Hernandez Luna, D-Houston; Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi; Ken King, R-Canadian; Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo; and Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston.
Senators’ appointments came on Jan. 8. Those appointed to the Senate Jurisprudence Committee are Chairman Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas; Vice-Chairman Sen. José R. Rodríguez, D-El Paso; and members Sens. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels; John Carona, R-Dallas; Kelly Hancock, R-Fort Worth; and Ken Paxton, R-McKinney.
Erin Daly and Jason Embry, spokespeople for Straus’ office, didn’t immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
— Angela Morris