Today is the 130th day of the Texas Legislature's 140 day regular session.
"Senator Says Innocence Commission Bill is in Trouble," is by Brandi Grissom at the Texas Tribune.
Legislation that would create a commission to review wrongful convictions in Texas is in peril after an advocate for the bill — the brother of an exoneree who died while wrongfully imprisoned — lambasted a state senator who opposes it during a committee hearing this week.
"I don't have my votes in committee," state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said Thursday. He is the Senate sponsor of House Bill 166, which would establish an innocence commission in Texas. "I had them, but I don't have them now."
Under the bill, which is pending in committee, the commission's governor-appointed members would investigate wrongful convictions, identify why they occur and examine appeals filed with the state’s courts for evidence of ethical violations by attorneys and judges.
The Houston Chronicle posts, "Session apologizes for outburst; exonerees bill left pending again," by Eva Ruth Moravec.
The brother of Timothy Cole, a man who died while incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit, said he regrets an outburst during a hearing in which he called a senator a “bitch,” but says the senator’s actions were “deplorable.”
The emotional testimony took place Tuesday during the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice meeting, in which House Bill 166 was discussed. Authored by Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, the bill would establish a nine-member commission that would evaluate future exoneration cases.
Several exonerees also gave testimony, and the item was left pending in committee because a quorum wasn’t present – Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said he left the meeting because “I had something else to do.” On Wednesday, committee members met at Whitmire’s desk to take up the pending items, but again didn’t vote on HB 166, this time because there weren’t enough votes.