Notice of New State Legislation Affecting Justice-Involved Veterans

Erin McGann, TVC's Justice-Involved Veteran hero, sends this information along about new laws from the 85th Session:

Governor Abbott enacted three (3) items that specifically impact justice-involved veterans in Texas. These measures aim to reduce veterans’ exposure in the criminal justice system and provide efficient mechanisms for mitigating the impact of past judicial involvement.

For complete detail and text of these items, please follow the links to the official website of the Texas Legislature.

85(R) HB 865

Relating to establishing a veterans services coordinator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a veterans reentry dorm program for certain state jail defendants confined by the department.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice currently supports a Veterans Service Coordinator and the Veterans Reentry Dorm program. The Texas Legislature recognized the valuable contribution of these programs by formalizing them into statute. The Veterans Dorm is available to certain veterans whose military trauma can be linked to the offense for which they were sentenced to State Jail.

85(R) HB 322

Relating to the expunction of arrest records and files for certain veterans and the waiver of fees and costs charged for the expunction. In certain cases, a trial court is now authorized to file and facilitate an expunction for a veteran who successfully completes a Veteran Treatment Court (VTC) program in Texas. This new law requires that the case is dismissed by the court, no fees are assessed for the expunction, and the veteran has not received a previous expunction under this section of statute.

85(R) HB 3069

Relating to the administration of and eligibility for participation in a veterans treatment court program and the issuance of orders of nondisclosure for certain participants who successfully complete that program.

This legislation clarifies that VTCs are authorized to function as both pre and post adjudication programs. Further, subject to the provisions of this bill, a veteran that successfully completes a VTC program in Texas is entitled to file for a petition of non-disclosure with the court of original jurisdiction.

For more on all these bills, including the complete text, visit the Texas Legislature Online.