Standing in support of the Second Chances Bill, Right on Crime signatory Doug Deason urged legislators to pass the critical reforms at a press conference held in the Texas state capitol on Tuesday. Deason advocated for the bill by sharing his personal testimony of making a mistake at a young age and benefiting from a chance to move forward. The bill, HB 3016, would grant certain first time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to seal their records through petition.

Representing the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), senior analyst Greg Glod explained that the bill builds on reforms made last session by adding Class C misdemeanors to the list of crimes that first time offenders can request to be sealed from their records. Glod listed off disorderly conduct, jaywalking, and first-time DWI offenses as a few examples that fall under the umbrella of Class C misdemeanors. He further clarified that for first-time DWI offenders, HB 3016 establishes a critical requirement to complete a six-month interlock program (or face a wait time of five years) before having their records sealed. This key piece of the legislation earned support from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  MADD representative Jaime Gutierrez voiced strong approval of the bill, calling it a, “smart justice approach” to a very preventable problem.

Legislators leading support of the bill include Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Senfronia Thompson, and Representative Paul Workman.  Senator Hughes and Representative Workman were present at the press conference and thanked advocates from TPPF and MADD as well as representatives from both sides of the aisle for coming together to support the second chances bill.

Senator Hughes remarked, “Matters like this especially where we can help people make society
safer for our children, and come together, left and right, to make good policy
– we’re excited about this.”

Representative Workman shared his perspective on the bill’s outcome this session.  He expressed confidence regarding the remaining legislative procedures the bill must travel through before passage, commenting that amendments made in the Senate will likely be accepted by the House.

Doug Deason gave closing remarks on the importance of passing redemptive criminal justice legislation:

“When low-level offenders pay their debt to society and prove they can stay on the straight and narrow,
they deserve an opportunity for a clean slate.”

Read the event’s press release by Greg Glod at TPPF.