Good morning,

It’s a busy day and I don’t want to keep you—I just wanted to share a quick reminder of TCJC’s legislative agenda and resources, along with what we know about this session so far.

Our team. Meet our 2021 Policy Team! For those of you who don’t know them yet, I am proud to introduce Alycia, Devin, Maggie, Cynthia, Doug, and Vanessa.

Headshots and titles of TCJC's 2021 Policy Team: Alycia Castillo (Policy Analyst), Devin Driver (Policy Analyst), Maggie Luna (Hogg Foundation Peer Policy Fellow), Cynthia Simons (Grant Me the Wisdom Women's Justice Fellow), Doug Smith (Senior Policy Analyst), Vanessa Akins (Legislative Bill Tracker)

These policy pros are driven by knowledge and passion, and in many cases, they are inspired by their own personal or family stories of justice system impact. Learn more about our policy staff, and the full TCJC team, on our staff page.


Our agenda. At the end of 2020, we released our 7-pronged “Spend Your Values, Cut Your Losses” portfolio, which recommends a top-down realignment in how taxpayer money is spent on corrections. Now, you can find all the data and recommendations in our Spend Your Values one-stop-shop!

In addition to our main page, you can find each of our 7 Smart and Safe Solutions at the following links:

We’ll be tracking relevant bills on each page as they’re filed. And remember, you can also follow our continuing work at the state and local levels on these pages: Youth JusticeAlternatives to IncarcerationConditions of ConfinementParole and ReentryWomen’s JusticeHarris County (Houston), Travis County (Austin), and Dallas County.


Our expectations. Although we still don’t know everything about how this legislative session will look, here’s what we’ve found out so far.

  • In light of COVD-19, attendance in the state’s Capitol Building will be limited for today’s opening ceremony. Attendance will likely be limited in general throughout the session. 
  • To enter the building, COVID testing will be optional and available on the North side of the Capitol. Some legislators could request that visitors to the Capitol be tested before meeting with them in person. 
  • If you want to testify, it’s likely that you’ll need to register at least a day in advance.
  • Senate committees are expected to hold fewer hearings, and altogether it is likely that fewer bills will be heard and passed. 
  • There will likely not be major public lobby days. 
  • Friday, March 12, will be the final day to file bills, and session will adjourn (Sine Die) on Monday, May 31. 
  • Redistricting may be addressed outside of the regular session, in a special session this summer.

We expect the legislature to set more rules, including mask requirements, as they meet this week. You can learn more in an interview with presumptive House Speaker Dade Phelan here.


Our recent news hits. Senior Policy Analyst Doug Smith connected with KXAN to talk about what session might look like, and why it’s still important to prioritize justice issues. He also spoke with the Texas Tribune for a story about the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine in Texas prisons and jails. And you may have seen that our legislative agenda was featured in a New York Times story about breaking the partisan gridlock; read the full article here. Check out these recent news stories featuring our team, and keep track of all of our news mentions on our website.


That’s all for now! As session kicks off today I hope you’ll stay safe, stay healthy, and stay engaged with this work to spend our shared values in pursuit of thriving Texas families and communities!

With gratitude,


Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

1714 Fortview Road, Suite 104 |  Austin, Texas 78704

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