Written by Amanda Coers – Near the conclusion of the Brown County Commissioners Court on Monday, March 6th, Judge Ray West briefly spoke of Texas State Representative Mike Lang’s recently filed bill: HB 2273 to the repeal statutes allowing the county attorney or commissioners court to accept gifts or grants to finance or assist the operation of the office of county attorney.
“I will provide copies of those for you to review and comment,” Judge Ray West told the commissioners. “When I asked them what was the catalyst for their drafting of those bills, their response was ‘when they said’ and ‘they told us this and they told us that,’ and I said, ‘who is they?’ and they said, the press,” the County Judge said.
“Oh gosh,” replied Precinct 3 Commissioner Wayne Shaw.
A recording is provided here:
Zach Maxwell, Chief of Staff for Representative Mike Lang, confirmed the Representative has been in contact and working with several Brown County residents regarding the bill, and not solely relying upon articles published by the media.
“We have gotten quite a few people reaching out, telling us the bill is a good thing,” Maxwell said, regarding bill to abolish the donation statute used in conjunction with the county’s pretrial diversion program.
The bill has been drafted and is awaiting committee review. Once that happens, Representative Mike Lang will request a hearing.
Lang’s office stated there will be Brown County residents testifying in support of the bill during the hearing as well as the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association, Inc. (JPCA), the largest organization of elected county officials in the State of Texas.
Representative Lang stated in a recent press release he firmly feels that legislation needs to be passed in order curtail potential corruption among elected county officials. Legislation was filed in 2007 that created a “donation” fund allowing for gifts and grants to be given to the county attorney in order to dismiss cases.
Brown County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4, Jim Cavanaugh endorsed the bill by saying, “It does not pass the smell test when you have the county attorney collecting gifts and donations directly from defendants.”
Any Brown County residents wishing to provide input or testify regarding Representative Lang’s bill may email: email@example.com
Texas Senator Dawn Buckingham has also filed a bill in connection with pretrial diversion programs and fees collected.
“I filed Senate Bill 1293 to make sure there is a clear line between fines collected for a pre-trial diversion program and what might be considered a gift or grant to help fund county operations. This legislation is not specific to any one Texas county,” the senator stated in a recent release.