TCADP is actively involved in the Texas Legislature, which meets every other year for 140 days, starting in mid-January and concluding at the end of May. Much of our work is carried out by the TCADP Lobby Corps, a dedicated group of volunteers who work with our staff and board of directors to advance our legislative agenda. We also provide opportunities for constituent engagement. Check out this great advice from Texas House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel on how to communicate with state legislators.
The 85th Texas Legislature convened on January 10, 2017. We began the session by delivering copies of the TCADP 2016 year-end report to all 181 legislative offices at the State Capitol.
Death penalty repeal bills have been introduced in both chambers of the 85th Texas Legislature:
- State Representative Jessica Farrar filed House Bill 1537, a bill to abolish the death penalty, on February 3, 2017. The bill is jointly authored by State Representatives Alma Allen and Donna Howard. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee considered testimony on the bill on April 17, 2107 (see below for details).
- State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. filed Senate Bill 597, a bill to abolish the death penalty, on January 24, 2017. The bill has been referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It has not been scheduled for a hearing.
Committee Hearing on HB 1537
During the hearing on House Bill 1537, members of the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence heard from representatives of several religious and civil rights organizations, including the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Texas Impact, and the ACLU of Texas. TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé provided testimony, as well.
Faith Leader Advocacy Day
Earlier in the legislative session, on March 28, 2017, TCADP and Texas Impact sponsored the 2017 Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty. Participants included clergy and lay leaders from Beaumont, Houston, Plano, Abilene, Copperas Cove, and Crowell, as well as members of the TCADP Lobby Corps. Collectively, participants visited nearly 40 legislative offices to share their opposition to the death penalty and urge support for HB 1537 and SB 597, the death penalty repeal bills.
For the remainder the session, we will continue to engage in dialogue with lawmakers about declining use of the death penalty in Texas.
For results from previous sessions, please visit our Legislative Advocacy Archive page.