TCADP’s success in the Texas Legislature depends a great deal upon the involvement of our members and supporters. Your role in the legislative process as a constituent cannot be overemphasized. Your advocacy truly makes a difference!
84th Texas Legislature
The 84th Texas Legislature convened on January 13, 2015. TCADP once again is working to repeal the death penalty and engage in dialogue with elected officials about the flaws and failures of our state’s capital punishment system.
On February 17, 2015, State Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) filed House Bill 1527, which aims to repeal the death penalty in Texas and replace it with Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole. The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee has considered similar legislation sponsored by Rep. Farrar in the past three sessions. TCADP will once again urge the committee to hold a hearing on the bill.
On March 13, 2015, State Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) filed Senate Bill 1661, related to abolish the death penalty in Texas. This is the first time that such a bill has been introduced in the Texas Senate.
TCADP Lobby Corps
The TCADP Lobby Corps, founded in 2012, is playing a vital role in our activities throughout the session. This constituent lobbying group consists of 20 people who have been trained to advance TCADP’s legislative agenda by meeting with legislators and increasing our visibility in the State Capitol. Our third class of Lobby Corps members began visiting the Capitol on January 22, 2015 when we hand-delivered copies of TCADP’s year-end report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2014: The Year in Review, to all 181 legislative offices.
Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty
TCADP’s first-ever “Faith Leader Advocacy Day on the Death Penalty” took place on Monday, March 9, 2015 at the State Capitol, in partnership with Texas Impact, the oldest and largest statewide interfaith network in Texas. TCADP and Texas Impact released an Interfaith Statement of Opposition to the Death Penalty, which has been endorsed by more than 550 faith leaders across Texas, as well as a Texas Rabbis’ and Cantors’ Statement of Opposition to the Death Penalty, signed by more than 20 Jewish leaders in Texas. Participating clergy met with legislators to voice their support for House Bill 1527
Contact Elected Officials
TCADP urges you to contact your State Senator, State Representative and the Governor to let them know about your concerns about capital punishment. We can provide you with resources on how to contact your legislator and what talking points to use. We also want to hear about your interactions with elected officials and their staff persons. Learn more.
Results of the 83rd Legislative Session (2013):
- Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) files House Bill 1703, which calls for repeal of the death penalty in Texas;
- Rep. Alma Allen (D-Houston) and Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) sign on to the bill as co-authors;
- TCADP Lobby Corps meet with dozens of legislative offices to encourage their support for HB 1703 and to call for a committee hearing;
- HB 1703 receives a hearing by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 29, 2013.
TCADP also provided support for House Bill 2458 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), which seeked to prohibit the imposition of a death sentence or execution under any judgment that was sought or obtained on the basis of race. On April 16, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard testimony on this legislation. Both HB 2458 and 1703 were left pending in the committee. Read more about the hearings here and here.