Senator Nathan Johnson files first bills on Criminal Justice Reform

AUSTIN – Texas State Senator Nathan Johnson introduced his first bills today. The three pieces of legislation, SB 460, SB 461, and SCR 10, are aligned with bipartisan objectives to improve the criminal justice system in Texas.

“Throughout the 86th session, I will introduce legislation reflecting discussions I have had over the past two years regarding how we can enable Texans to become more self-sufficient, healthy, and productive,” Johnson said. “These bills will ensure that we provide every opportunity for criminal offenders to successfully reintegrate into society while conserving resources that law enforcement officers need for public safety.”

SB 460 would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and reduce penalties for possession of other levels. This will prevent hundreds of thousands of Texans from receiving life-long criminal records for minor offenses. Decriminalization of marijuana is a bipartisan issue that would save taxpayers money and free up law enforcement and judicial resources to focus on more serious crimes.
SB 461 would provide identity and job history documentation to those exiting the prison system in order to help them gain employment. This, not incidentally, reduces recidivism.

SCR 10 would exempt Texas from a misguided federal mandate requiring states to automatically suspend the drivers’ licenses of all drug offenders. Texas currently suspends 13,000 drivers’ licenses for individuals convicted of minor charges unrelated to driving, creating an unnecessary impediment to obtaining and maintaining employment.

“Criminal justice reform has broad bipartisan support, and I am pleased to be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. As the session unfolds, look for us to continue to work together to pass legislation consistent with these aims, both narrow and broad in scope,” Johnson concluded.

Senator Nathan Johnson was elected in 2018 to represent the economically and demographically diverse Texas Senate District 16. Johnson is a member of the Committees on Health & Human Services, Veteran Affairs & Border Security, Water & Rural Affairs, and Administration.

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