RP 77- Relating to the reauthorization of the operation of the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council
WHEREAS, the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council was created by Executive Order RP 41 to advise the governor on matters related to the adequacy of criminal justice procedures and other matters designated by the governor; and
WHEREAS, judges, county commissioners, probation and parole officers, veterans' advocates, and substance abuse and mental health experts throughout the state have created more than 100 innovative and effective specialty court diversion programs in their local jurisdictions over the last decade; and
WHEREAS, specialty courts, such as drug courts, veterans' courts, DWI courts, mental health courts and family courts, are believed to be a humane and cost-effective method to prevent nonviolent offenders with substance abuse or mental health problems from unnecessarily entering the criminal justice system; and
WHEREAS, because of the growth of specialty courts throughout Texas, we have the opportunity to identify and replicate best practices by drawing upon the local knowledge and experience of the dedicated professionals who have created successful specialty court programs; and
WHEREAS, the public rightfully expects state and local government to spend public funds for criminal justice programs that are both cost-effective and successful in maintaining public safety;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas as the Chief Executive Officer, do hereby order the following:
1. Reauthorizing the Creation of Council. The Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council (the "Council"), created by Executive Order RP 41, is hereby reauthorized with the mandate to advise the governor on matters related to the operation of specialty courts throughout Texas.
2. Composition and Terms. The Council shall consist of members appointed by the governor. The governor will designate one member to serve as the chair. The governor may fill any vacancy that may occur and may appoint other voting or ex officio, nonvoting members as needed. Any state or local officers or employees appointed to serve on the Council shall do so in addition to the regular duties of their respective offices or positions. All appointees serve at the pleasure of the governor.
3. Duties. The Council shall advise the governor on:
• Best practices relating to the creation, staffing and operation of specialty courts in Texas.
• Measures by which the effectiveness of individual specialty court programs can be evaluated.
• Methods of ensuring that the rights of participants in specialty courts are respected and protected.
• Any other matters the governor may designate.
4. Coordination. The Council, through its advisory efforts, shall coordinate with national, state and local entities when necessary.
5. Report. The Council shall report its findings in writing to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the House.
6. Meetings. Subject to the approval of the governor, the Council shall meet, in Austin or by electronic means, on such matters that the governor designates. The Council will not take testimony but shall receive input from the following:
• Judges and specialty court coordinators and program directors who have direct experience operating specialty courts.
• Prosecutors and attorneys representing defendants who have participated in specialty court programs.
• County judges and commissioners from counties that have currently operating specialty court programs.
• Substance abuse and mental health practitioners who have expenence providing services in specialty court programs.
• Local law enforcement personnel who have experience with specialty court programs.
• Other interested parties.
7. Administrative Support. The Office of the Governor and other appropriate state agencies shall provide administrative support for the Council.
8. Other Provisions. The Council shall adhere to guidelines and procedures prescribed by the Office of the Governor. All members of the Council shall serve without compensation. Necessary expenses may be reimbursed when such expenses are incurred in the direct performance of official duties of the Council.
This executive order supersedes all previous orders on this matter that are in conflict or inconsistent with its terms, and this order shall remain in effect and in full force until modified, amended, rescinded or superseded by me or by a succeeding governor.
Given under my hand this the 28th day of February, 2012.
Governor of Texas
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