House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence - 86th R.S. (2019)

Committee: House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Coronavirus | Court records | Criminal justice | Guardianship | Highway construction | Juries | Jurisdiction (Legal) | Sex crimes | Sexual harassment | Statutes of limitation | Wills and estates |
Library Call Number: L1836.86 J898
Session: 86th R.S. (2019)
Online version: View report [79 pages  File size: 5,349 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
  • HB 2899, which specifies that highway construction contractors are not liable for design defects. Investigate whether expansion of those policies to other areas of public/private contracting is in the best interest of the state.
  • HB 3809, which raises the statute of limitations for suit for injuries from a sexual assault of a child from 15 years to 30 years. Study and deliberate ways to enhance protections for victims of sexual abuse. Review other Texas laws relating to reporting and investigating incidents of workplace sexual harassment. Make recommendations to remove barriers to reporting and investigating incidents of sexual harassment and to make improvements to existing policies where necessary.
  • HB 4531, which authorizes adults under guardianship to consent to forensic medical examination protocols. Monitor the impact of the legislation on the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of sexual assault, and study the impact on other related offenses and the treatment and services provided to victims of those offenses.
  • SB 2342, which increases the amount in controversy for certain courts and expedited proceedings and makes reforms to jury requirements in order to improve access to courts. Review the impact of the legislation on the administration of justice and access to courts for Texas citizens
2. Study opportunities to modernize and improve local and statewide data collection throughout the criminal justice system in Texas, including improving the collection and reporting of court records, to promote transparency and ensure uniform data collection processes.
3. Study the Rule Against Perpetuities as used by trusts. Examine whether statutory changes are necessary and appropriate to make Texas more competitive and keep trust capital and estate planning business in Texas.
4. Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.
5. Compile information regarding the effects of COVID-19 on the judiciary, with particular reference to the following questions: 1. Have you had any difficulty acquiring PPE for your court, county, or staff? 2. How have your caseloads been impacted by COVID-19? Do you have a backlog of cases? 3. What has been your experience in using Zoom or other online platforms for court proceedings? 4. How has the pandemic impacted court staff, e.g. space, teleworking, flexible work shifts, etc.? *

* This represents an abstract of the report contents. Charge text is incomplete or unavailable.

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