I hope you can stand another report. I went to the meeting today after being reminded on Glocktalk that it was being held.
I only stayed for HB284. This is the House companion bill to the Senate bill (hearing is tomorrow) regarding removing of any duty to retreat, and liability protection while in home, car, business during a forcible entry and any other place you have a right to be, and the use of deadly force in those locations.
To read the entire text of the bill you may go to the following site and enter the bill number (hb284) into the search line:
Then click on the 'Texas' symbol to the left of "Introduced Version" and you will be offered the full text in HTML, Word Document, or PDF.
Here is a summary of the bill:
80(R) HB 284 - Introduced version - Fiscal Note
Excerpt: The bill would also amend the Civil Practice and Remedies Code relating to civil actions and the recovery of court costs. The Office of Court Administration has determined that the provisions of the bill would not result in a significant fiscal impact to the State. No significant fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated. (SORRY this is a poor summary)
Rep. Joe Driver(author) presented the bill to the Committee. There have been changes made which will probably be posted later tonight or tomorrow, called Committee Substitute. It addresses some concerns of some of the 105 sponsors. Esentially, it substitutes 'forcible entry' and 'occupied vehicle' into the wording and eliminates the automatic right to recover attorney fees and court costs in a civil suit from the bill. It doesn't prevent one from trying, but it is not automatic.
FOR THE BILLS there were MANY more witnesses today than for the bills yesterday. I was expecting some considerable delay and was not fully prepared when they considered this bill first and called me to testify first. YIKES!! At least I didn't embarrass myself.
I indicated that after learning in a CHL class twice and a CHL instructor class and many moons ago as a Texas State Trooper for four years with DPS, that I thought I was familiar enough with the law to make good split second decisions if confronted with a deadly threat against myself, my darling wife or wonderful children (all true). What I really feared was being bankrupted by the civil tort system by the family of the now dear departed assailant. I really didn't word that last part that way but... I noted that this and other states have passed laws preventing criminals from profitting for their criminal actions by writing books etc. Without this law, they could continue to use the courts to do just that.
Following me, the 'Shooting Grandma from Arlington" gave a great presentation of her experience. She is Susan Gaylord Buxton who shot an intruder and had much of the experience recorded on the 911 call. She was protecting herself and a grandchild. This was about 4 years ago. You may recall, she was on several radio talk shows, includig Sean Hannity. She is 68 now and looks great. Wonderful job that impressed many on the committee.
Then a lady who also encountered a home intruder. D. Eggleston for the DFW area was not forced to shoot her .357 magnum but was prepared to do so. The guy chose to leave. Very moving and emotional testimony.
There were several other individuals (6+) supporting the bill but who chose not to testify including former Rep. Suzanna Hupp.
Also in favor of the bill was the City of Garland, James Dark and Alice Tripp of TSRA, Jason LeFleur (law partner of former Rep. Terry Keel). The NRA representative Terra Mischa (I know the spelling is wrong, sorry) gave a very good rebuttle to the Harris County DA. She mentioned that DA Rosenthal was essentially ignoring the will of the legislature regarding the travelling statute they passed in the last session. I am glad she did because I was about ready to explode during the DA's presentation.
AGAINST THE BILL (also many more) were several individuals and groups. The Rev. Peter Johnson (youngest aid to Dr Martin Luther King) testified in a moving way about his time at the famous Pettus Bridge when he chose violence but was talked out of it by MLK and Andrew Young. He did well and was sincere.
Then the Asst. DA Bill DelMar (sp?) of Harris County spoke against the bill...no suprise there. He complained that the presumptions establish would be too hard to overcome in the cases where real bad guys (rather than innocent homeowners) were involved. He also complained about he duty to retreat. Then talked about shootouts in bars, which was totally off the topic of this bill. Much of what he said seemed to be blowing smoke and not particular to the bill.
There were about 3-4 individuals registering against the bill but choosing not to testify.. Then Randall Sims (sp?) the DA for Randall and Potter counties (Amarillo) testified against the bill, also referencing shoot outs in bars etc....totally off topic. He seemed like a good guy but just wrong on this...in my opinion.
Finally, Marsha McCartney of the North Texas Brady Campaign testified about Florida, Alabama and Montana. Guess which way she leaned.
The Committee Substitute was then vote on 5-3 to favorably recommended the bill to the full House. I didn't hear all of the voting but voting for were Chair, Rep. Pena, Rep. Riddle, Rep. Talton, Rep. Pierson and Rep Vaught.
Voting against were Rep. Moreno, Rep. Hodge and one other I did not get as it apparently was a nod or some other visual indication. I believe it was Rep. Carraway. Rep. Escobar had left the room.
I have to work tomorrow so I don't think I can make the Senate Jurisprudence Committee meeting where Sen. Wentworth will present his Senate Companion bill to this one. The meeting starts at 1:30PM ( or later if the Senate session runs long) I will look forward to a report.
Thanks for your time.