FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/09/2016
State Representative James White - Interim Update
(Austin, TX) - State Representative James White is proud to represent the citizens of Southeast Texas. Throughout this legislative interim he has been meeting and attending community events through Newton, Jasper, Hardin, Polk, and Tyler counties.
On February 15th, Rep. White hosted an informative town hall in Corrigan where he was able to hear from citizens of the district. "These conversations throughout Southeast Texas are always informative to me. As a legislator, I appreciate constituents who are active in their community and engage on issues that are important to them and their families," said Rep. White.
As Vice Chair of the House Committee on Corrections, Rep. White joined his legislative colleagues in Austin on February 9th-10th to hear testimony on three of the charges they were tasked to study this interim.
- The committee heard testimony on incarceration rates for non-violent low-level small possession drug offenses and the cost to the state associated with those offenses. The Legislature will use this testimony to identify alternatives to incarceration, including community supervision, that could be used to reduce incarceration rates of non-violent drug offenders. The most important goal of the Legislature is to devise effective strategies to ensure public safety and reduce drug addiction in our local communities.
- Committee members listened to updates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) on inmate release policies, including the release of inmates directly from administrative segregation. The committee is working with TDCJ officials to identify the best practices and policies for the transitioning of various inmate populations from the prison to the appropriate supervision in communities, while ultimately maintaining public safety.
- The Committee also heard testimony from the Windham School District. Windham provides educational programs for TDCJ inmates. The Windham testimony focused on re-entry programs and employment opportunities for offenders upon release. The overall goal for TDCJ and Windham is to facilitate public safety. Therefore the Corrections Committee looked at the causes of recidivism and effective means to reduce recidivism.
State Rep. White also participated in the first hearing of the Select Committee on Mental Health in Austin on February 19th. This hearing provided committee members a general overview of the current landscape of mental health services and their funding mechanisms. The committee heard from the Legislative Budget Board, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and various stakeholder organizations. Their testimony allowed for the committee to have a baseline for future hearings and ensure that members have the most current and accurate information regarding funding of mental health services and the services provided with that funding.
In addition, State Representative James White would like to inform constituents that the Texas House of Representatives has changed email address domains. Although the current "@house.state.tx.us" emails will remain active, we ask that constituents who seek to contact Rep. White or legislative staff use the new domain "@house.texas.gov." Below is a listing of our updated staff contacts:
State Representative James White
Shawn Dunn - District Director
Saul Mendoza - Capitol Director
For more information please contact State Representative James White's office at (512) 463-0490 or (409) 283-3700.