Four Price - Texas State Representative, Republican, District 87 | Editorial: Don't shortchange Texas justice

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Editorial: Don't shortchange Texas justice

November 30, 2012
Amarillo Globe-News

If the first bill filed by Texas state Rep. Four Price for the 83rd Legislature is any indication, the Amarillo Republican is off to a good start.

Among the bevy of bills filed by lawmakers before the session kicks off Jan. 8 is House Bill 220, Price’s second attempt to strengthen justice in Texas.

Price’s bill would allow judges to institute consecutive rather than concurrent sentences for criminals found guilty of serious — if not heinous — offenses, such as repeated physical abuse or injury against a child, senior citizen or disabled person.

Consecutive sentences require a criminal to serve back-to-back sentences rather than concurrent sentences, which can run at the same time — meaning a criminal serves less time behind bars.

“I believe those who commit the most heinous of crimes — abusers of our youth, our elderly and disabled Texans — should be subject to the full extent of the law,” Price said in a statement. “HB 220 is a public safety measure intended to curb and help prevent instances of abuse by keeping violent offenders off the streets.”

Price championed similar legislation two years ago, and the bill passed the House by a resounding 148-0 vote. However, time ran out in the session, and the bill did not get through the Senate for a vote.

Criminals who commit first-degree felonies, such as the aforementioned offenses should not be allowed to circumvent justice by combining the length of their punishment — and thereby shortening prison time — with concurrent sentences.

Speaking of time, hopefully the Legislature will find more time to adequately discuss — and pass — House Bill 220.