This is the Texas Legislature’s official website: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
Your assignment this week is to look up two bills.
To make it easy, since it’s a holiday week, one will be a bill we’ve already had a look at.
S.B. 267 is the “source of income” bill we looked at for our interest groups assignment.
H.B. 476 is about discriminating against people who receive “deferred adjudication” after pleading guilty to a crime.
Write about these two bills. Tell about their path through the legislative process.
Make sure your essay tells me the bill number and author, what problem each bill was trying to solve, what groups seemed to be for and against each of these (hint: look at the witness list, under the “text” tab when you look up the bill), what finally happened to each one, and how you would have voted had you been a Texas legislator.
Submit in Word. Cite your sources.
Note: Remember that the session in which you’re interested is the 84th Regular Session (84(R) – 2015). There’s a little pull down menu that lets you pick different sessions of the legislature in case you want to look up old bills. Make sure you’re looking at this year’s session.
Resources (check back for more)
The Texas Tribune is a great source of information about the Texas Legislature.
S.B. 267 is a really short bill. The purpose may not make sense at first, but here’s some background about the issue that sparked it, which is an ordinance passed in Austin last year: http://austintexas.gov/news/austin-city-council-amends-housing-discrimination-ordinance-add-source-income, http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2014/11/city-council-advances-source-income-ordinance/, and http://www.austinaptassoc.com/source-of-income.html.
The author of H.B. 476 wrote about his motivation on this issue several years for the Houston Press: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/representative-harold-dutton-every-texas-felon-gets-a-life-sentence-6711857
An employer group looked at a similar deferred adjudication discrimination bill two years ago: http://www.imperativeinfo.com/2013/03/06/texas-employer-alert-house-bill-seeks-to-hide-one-third-of-criminal-records-from-employers/