The Review of Penal Laws Act

Summary

This Act forms an interim commission of key stakeholders and experts to make recommendations to the legislature regarding the review of penal laws that are unnecessary, unclear, duplicative, overly broad, or otherwise insufficient to serve the purpose of the law.

Model Policy

{Title, Enacting Clause, etc.}

{Section 1.} Commission to Study Certain Penal Laws 

(A) A commission is created to study and review all penal laws of this state other than criminal offenses:

(1)   Under the Penal Code;

(2)   Under Health and Safety Code that involve illicit controlled substances; or

(3)   Related to the operation of a motor vehicle.

(B) The commission shall:

(1)   Evaluate all laws described by Subsection (A) of this Section; and

(2)   Make recommendations to the legislature regarding the repeal or revision of laws that are identified as being unnecessary, unclear, duplicative, overly broad, or otherwise insufficient to serve the intended purpose of the law.

(C) The commission is composed of nine members appointed as follows:

(1)     Three members appointed by the governor;

(2)     Two members appointed by the presiding officer of the senate;

(3)     Two members appointed by the speaker;

(4)     Two members appointed by the chief justice of the state’s highest court (or if there are separate high courts for criminal and civil matters one appointed by the chief justice of each court).

(D) The officials making appointments to the commission under Subsection (C) of this Section shall ensure that the membership of the commission includes representatives of all areas of the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, legal scholars, and relevant business interests.

(E) The governor shall designate one member of the commission to serve as the presiding officer of the commission.

(F) A member of the commission is not entitled to compensation or reimbursement of expenses.

(G)  The commission shall meet at the call of the presiding officer.

(H) Not later than November 1, 20XX, the commission shall report the commission’s findings and recommendations to the governor, the presiding officer of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the state’s highest court(s), and the standing committees of the house of representatives and the senate with primary jurisdiction over criminal justice.  The commission shall include in its recommendations any specific statutes that the commission recommends revising or repealing.

{Section 2.} Appointment of Members

(A) Not later than the 60th day after the effective date of this Act, the governor, the presiding officer of the senate, the speaker, and the chief justice of the state’s highest court(s) shall appoint the members of the commission created under this Act.

{Section 3.} Abolition of Commission.

(A) The commission is abolished and this Act expires December 31, 20XX.

{Section 4.} Effective Date.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, August 3, 2013.

Keyword Tags: Criminal Justice, Justice Performance Project Task Force, Overcriminalization