Special Session
2:54 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Senate Committees Act Quickly On Transportation/Juvenile Justice Bills

It took two separate Senate committees less than 10 minutes to pass a set of transportation funding and juvenile justice bills that are similar to those seen during the first special session.

Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, who authored the transportation bill from the first session, said many in the Texas House were not comfortable with a hard $6 billion ceiling for money from the Rainy Day Fund that will be transferred into transportation funding.

In the Senate Committee on Finance, lawmakers quickly heard and voted for a bill that was similar to the one Nichols authored.

"I’m hoping that we can get this passed this special session so that the citizens can vote on it in November and then when we come back next session we will work on other revenue streams," Nichols said.

On the other side of the hallway, lawmakers seated on the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice took even less time passing a juvenile justice bill that brings Texas in compliance with a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

The court ruled that sentencing a 17 year old to life without parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

"It's very important that this bill pass and and I’m doing my best to try to get it out of the legislature. There are a lot of pending cases in this state, there’s been an outcry from prosecutors, from victim's families. There are a lot of people that are very concerned (because) we haven’t managed to get our business taken care of," said Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who authored the bill.

Huffman's bill would give juvenile’s convicted of capital felonies the option of parole after 40 years. Both bills will be up for a vote on the Senate floor next week.