Opening Excerpt: Submitted by Mary Mergler, Texas Appleseed & Emily Gerrick, Texas Fair Defense Project. To: Chairman Moody and Members of the Committee: During the 85th legislative session, the Texas legislature wisely passed two important bills designed to improve procedures in criminal cases when defendants are unable to pay fines, court costs, and fees. Both Senate Bill 1913 and House Bill 351, which were substantively very similar with the exception of some minor differences, were based upon recommendations from the Texas Judicial Council led by Chief Justice Nathan Hecht. The two bills were signed by Governor Abbott on June 15, 2017, and took effect on September 1, 2017. The legislation made a number of meaningful improvements to state law to help ensure all defendants were treated fairly in the criminal courts regardless of their ability to pay fines, costs and fees. Among the key changes made by the legislation are the following.
Many students, parents, and educators have concerns about how to keep their campuses safe. This flier will help explain what works to create safe schools and what can actually be harmful for students.
Muchos estudiantes, padres y educadores tienen dudas sobre cómo mantener la seguridad de su campus. Este folleto ayudará a explicar qué enfoques funcionan para crear escuelas seguras y cuáles pueden ser realmente perjudiciales para los estudiantes.
Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security. Written Testimony of Morgan Craven, Texas Appleseed. EXCERPT: Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida our organizations began to hear story after story of children, some as young as 10 years old, being arrested in their schools and referred to juvenile probation for behaviors that school officials and law enforcement were categorizing as “Terroristic Threat” and “Exhibition of Firearms.” ... In many of the cases we were hearing about there was no substantive threat made. Sometimes kids were expressing emotions like anger, fear, or frustration in improper, but age-appropriate, ways or ways that are a manifestation of a disability. Sometimes kids were just saying insensitive things or make terrible jokes.


Immigrant Children & Families
Juvenile Justice
Mental Health
Payday & Auto Title Lending Reform
Protecting Seniors from Financial Abuse
School-to-Prison Pipeline
Bail Reform
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Criminal Discovery
Debt Collection
Debtors' Prisons
Disaster Recovery & Fair Housing
Foster Care & Courts
Homeless Youth