|Rep. Eddie Lucio III|
Rep. Lucio's first bill is commendable. HB 281 would give an immediate family member of a peace officer who has died as a result of alleged criminal conduct the right to testify at a plea bargaining for the alleged offender. This is reasonable legislation that, for as far as I can see, only gives the immediate family of a police officer the ability to be heard with regard to an offender's plea.
The Democrat's second bill is rather humorous. In his press release, Rep. Lucio states, "The human reaction to losing a pet attributed to theft can be emotionally devastating and those who participate in such criminal activity should be held responsible." So his bill, HB 279, would make it a state jail felony to steal a pet. The maximum penalty for a state jail felony, according to the Texas Penal Code, is 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The minimum is 180 days in jail. It isn't often that I chuckle when I read a bill, but I did when I read this one, because the bill includes rodent's and reptiles. If you read the legislation by clicking the link, you will find no exception if the animal is returned alive and well. So, even if I still Freddy's pet lizard while I am at his house, and then feel guilty, I can still get thrown into state jail for 2 years even if I give Freddy's lizard back and pay him $75. This bill goes way overboard - and places an incredibly to high value on our furry, slimy, and harry friends. This comes as very ironic considering he introduced this legislation after 26 people were murdered in a shooting. Let's focus on what is more important, please.
The third and fourth bill the San Benito legislator introduced deals with school counselors, HB 280 and HB 282. Both of them deal with imposing prohibitions and mandates on school districts. Now, we don't need to get into the details of these two bills because you can read them for yourself and form your own opinion. However, for the purpose of addressing them I will say I resent attempts to mandate local school districts to do one thing or another, or restricting their ability to do something. I believe local school districts should be controlled at the local level, not from Austin. So at this point I am opposed to the two bills simply because of their nature.
Rep. Lucio introduced a helpful bill, a goose egg, and two bills that take control from school districts. Hopefully he will focus on his helpful bill, that is, the one that provides the immediate family of a fallen peace officer the opportunity to testify at plea hearings.