House Bill 954 by Rep. Dutton provides for transparency of communication between the state and local jurisdiction. State law authorizes the board of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to contract for temporary or permanent housing of inmates for public or private jails or operators of alternate housing facilities.
This bill requires the TDCJ Board to instruct the Pardons and Patrol Division to provide detailed information about these facilities to cities that are 2.3 million or larger in population on a monthly basis. Legislators can also request information about Alternate Housing Facilities in their district.
The bill also directs TDCJ to require the Alternate Housing Facilities to comply with any local permitting or zoning requirements in the approval of these facilities in a local jurisdiction of 2.3 million or more.
House Bill 954 provides a streamlined flow of information between the state agency and the local jurisdiction, without the local jurisdiction being required to access information via public information requests.
An amendment was added to the bill in the Senate. The amendment stated as soon as practical that TDCJ shall transfer to the City of Burnett real property that is described later in the amendment. The property shall be used only for a purpose that benefits the public interest of the state. If that is not done, the ownership automatically reverts to TDCJ.