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House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence - 84th R.S. (2015)

Committee Members
John Smithee, Chair
Jessica Farrar, Vice Chair
Travis Clardy
Ana Hernandez
Jodie Laubenberg
Richard Peña Raymond
Mike Schofield
Kenneth Sheets
Senfronia Thompson
Charges
• Study the recently enacted Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and determine how Texas’s anti-trafficking laws could benefit from the Act. In addition, examine strategies for tracking the demand for commercial sex in Texas and the feasibility of creating a statewide trafficking reporting system.
• Examine whether family law statutes and those affecting the parent-child relationship provide sufficient guidance to Texas judges as to the appropriate application of foreign law. Consider whether additional statutory provisions regarding application of foreign law could provide useful guidance while preserving judges' ability to consider the circumstances of each case and not needlessly prolonging litigation.
• Evaluate recent efforts to make the court system more accessible for self-represented litigants, and make recommendations on how the courts can more effectively interact with unrepresented parties and increase access to legal information, assistance, and representation. Examine similar efforts in other states.
• Examine issues related to jury service in Texas, including participation and response rates, the accuracy of jury wheel data, and possible methods to improve response and participation.
• Study the implementation of the expedited action provisions of HB 274 (82R), and examine whether these provisions have been effective in encouraging the prompt and efficient resolution of cases.
• Examine the rights, duties, remedies, and procedures available to consumers under Subchapter M, Chapter 2301, Texas Occupations Code (the Texas "Lemon Law"). Monitor the results of complaints filed under this subchapter and how these rights, duties, remedies, and procedures compare to those in other states.
• Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.

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