AUSTIN, Texas - Speaker Dennis Bonnen today appointed 13 members of the Texas House of Representatives to serve on the newly-formed Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety. The House Select Committee was formed in response to the recent tragedies in El Paso, Midland, and Odessa, and will be tasked with studying and recommending effective legislative solutions and other measures to help prevent mass violence and improve community safety in Texas.
Words alone will not deliver the bold solutions Texas needs in order to defeat the violence that has become far too commonplace in our state, said Speaker Bonnen. The Texas House is putting words into action by forming this committee, and it will be well-served by the range of backgrounds, skillsets, and expertise these particular members provide. While the charges before this committee will be no simple undertaking, their importance cannot be overstated. I am grateful for the service of each of these members and know their readiness to take on the challenging work before them will translate into thoughtful, life-saving solutions for the State of Texas.
The following members have been appointed by Speaker Bonnen to the select committee:
Drew Darby (Chair)
Poncho Nevárez (Vice-Chair)
The House Select Committee has jurisdiction over all matters that ensure the safety of Texas communities by reducing mass violence, including collaboration between state and local agencies and nongovernmental entities in preventing and responding to mass violence, violence prevention strategies that foster safe climates in schools and local communities, state and local funding for research and program development, access to state and local services for communities impacted by mass violence and persons at risk for harming themselves or others, and technological solutions to better detect, assess, report, and prevent threats.
Specifically, the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety is directed to:
Evaluate options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms;
Assess challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases;
Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement;
Consider the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state related to cybersecurity, mental health, law enforcement, and related professionals; and
Evaluate current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats and consider options for improving the dissemination of information between federal, state, and local entities and timely and appropriate intervention of mental health professionals.
The committee will be required to submit a preliminary assessment to the Speaker within 90 days of the committee's creation, produce periodic progress reports thereafter, and submit a final report. To maximize the opportunity for public input, the committee is required to make every effort to coordinate hearing dates with the Senate Select Committee when scheduling hearings during which public testimony will be heard.
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