Spring 2019
86th Legislative Snapshot
by Judge Laura A. Weiser, Judicial Resource Liaison

The 86th legislative session is in full swing. As of this date (3/4/19) there have been 3056 bills filed in the House and 1439 bills filed in the Senate.

Some important dates to note are:

March 8, 2019 (60th day) Deadline for the unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by the Governor.

May 6, 2019 (119th day) Last day for house committees to report house bills and house joint resolutions

May 17, 2019 Last day for the House to consider local house bills on 2nd and 3rd reading and first day the Senate can consider bills and resolutions the first day they are posted on the Senate Notice of Intent

May 18, 2019 Last day for house committees to report senate bills and senate joint resolutions

May 27, 2019 Last day of the 86th Regular Session

June 16, 2019 Last day the Governor can sign or veto bills passed during the regular session.

August 26, 2019 Date that bills without specific effective dates, other than bills with immediate effect, become law.

Here are some of the bills involving Impaired Driving:

Please note: I am not including bills that involve changes in our laws dealing with possession/manufacture/delivery of marijuana as they are so numerous, they deserve their own separate article.

Impaired Driving Proposed Legislation:

Senate Bill 106 by Menendez-This bill from last session allows Deferred Adjudication on first time DWIs, those deferred cases can be used to enhance, but otherwise are not convictions. As drafted Ignition Interlock is required and surcharges apply.
Last Action: 2/1/19 referred to Criminal Justice

House Bill 162 by White-Limits the scope of Transportation Code 521.292(a) by only allowing DPS to suspend a license when a person is driving on a suspended license that was a result of DWI
Last Action: 2/27/19 Left pending in committee

House Bill 1086 by Guillen-Raises the punishment level for Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter
Last Action: 2/26/19 referred to Criminal Jurisprudence

House Bill 1811 by Murr-increases the penalty for certain boating while intoxicated offenses.
Last Action: 2/14/19 Filed

Ignition Interlock Proposed Legislation:

House Bill 364 by Tinderholt-Refiled from last session HB 4003 Tinderholt. Magistrate/Court must submit name of def ordered to install an IID, and the date the restriction expires to TDPS for inclusion in a central database maintained and created by TxDPS.
This legislation is a companion to SB 558 and similar to HB 1022, Moody.
Last Action: 2/27/2019 Left pending in committee

House Bill 1022 by Moody-see above
Last action: 2/26/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety

Senate Bill 558 by Huffman (see above)
Last Action: 2/21/19 Referred to Criminal Justice

House Bill 2258 by Smith-Requires installation of an ignition interlock device as a condition of release on bond for the offense of DWI with a child passenger.
Last Action: 2/22/19 Filed

Occupational Driver’s License Proposed Legislation:

House Bill 156 by Moody and Senate Bill 217 by Rodriguez-Allows supervision of ODLs by a personal bond office and provides for an administrative fee
Last action on HB 156: 2/13/19 Referred to Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action on SB 271: 2/1/19 Referred to Criminal Justice

House Bill 2768 by Martinez Fischer-Allows a person whose license is suspended for failure to pay surcharges to apply for an ODL in the court where the person was convicted for the underlying offense giving rise to the surcharge. Requires notice of eligibility to apply for an ODL to be provided at the time of conviction and that each JP and Municipal court provide a standard petition to use to apply for an ODL.
Last Action: 2/28/19 filed

Senate Bill 1173 by Menendez similar to HB 2768 above
Last Action: 2/26/19 Filed

Driver Responsibility Program Proposed Legislation

There are at last count 15 separate bills that either repeal or amend the DRP. Rather than detailing each bill, I have simply listed them here:

HB 550 by Canales Last Action: 2/20/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety
HB 683 by White et al and SB 577 by Hall Last Action HB 683: 2/21/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety Last Action SB 577: 2/21/19 Referred to Transportation
SB 191 by Miles et al Last Action: 2/1/19 Referred to Transportation SB 274 by Watson Last Action: 2/7/19 Referred to Transportation
HB 757 by Wu Last Action: 2/21/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety
HB 2048 by Zerwas Last Action 2/20/19 Filed
SB 663 and HB 372 by Allen by Menendez Last Action on SB 663: Referred to Criminal Justice; Last Action on HB 372: 2/19/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety
SB 918 by Huffman Last Action: Referred to Finance
HB 1458 by Anderson, Charles and HB 1487 by Wilson Last Action on both: Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety
HB 2415 by Darby Last Action: 2/25/19 Filed
SB 87 by Hall Last Action: 2/1/19 referred to Transportation
HB 1145 by Krause Last Action: 2/26/19 Referred to Homeland Security & Public Safety

The DWI Summit is a continuing judicial education program designed especially for Texas judges by the Texas Center for the Judiciary’s DWI Curriculum Committee in conjunction with the Judicial Education Program Manager of the Texas Association of Counties. This program is generously funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation. Participants will earn 4 hours of continuing judicial education. The agenda will include the following topics: blood search warrants, pre-trial issues, sentencing alternatives and occupational licenses.

DWI Summit Victoria
June 6, 2019

DWI Summit Denton

June 27, 2019

Please visit the Texas Center website to learn more about these programs and to register.

It's never too early to mark your calendar for upcoming impaired driving education. Log in to your judicial profile at www.yourhonor.com to see more details.

Impaired Driving Symposium
July 25-26, 2019

Annual Judicial Education Conference
September 3-6, 2019

2019 Spotlight on Success Awards   

The sixth annual Spotlight on Success Awards, presented at the 2019 DWI Court Team Advanced Conference, recognized the efforts of an outstanding DWI Court team member and an exemplary DWI Court program. The McLennan County DWI/Drug Court Program was honored with the Spotlight on Success Outstanding Team award and Craig Fritz, Specialty Courts Program Administrator, Brazoria County, was honored with the Spotlight on Success Outstanding Team Member award.

Craig Fritz, Brazoria County, and Judge Vikram Deivanayagam, McLennan County Court at Law No. 1

The Texas Center Traffic Safety Grant Program would like to extend a very special thank you to Judge Laura Barker and the entire Williamson County DWI/Drug Court Team for allowing the attendees of the Basic Training to observe staffing and court review.

BJA Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program FY 2019 Competitive Grant Announcement

Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility's
interactive State Map summarizes the latest available information on drunk driving fatality statistics, laws and more.

The American Bar Association's Highway to Justice Winter 2019 Newsletter

Texas A&M Transportation Institute's Drug Impaired Driving Newsletter

National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) is offering personalized technical assistance to adult drug courts, co-occurring disorder courts, DWI courts and veterans treatment courts. To learn more about this opportunity visit: 

In the News


Bill to change DUI marijuana impairment laws postponed, but sparking conversation  
(The Denver Channel, 2/12/19)

DENVER — It's been more than six years since Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and yet lawmakers admit we still don't have a foolproof way to determine if someone is too high to drive.

County DWI-Drug Court named best in state
(Waco Tribune-Herald,2/08/2019)
McLennan County Court-at-Law Judge Vik Deivanayagam said he should have known something was up when officials from the Texas Center for the Judiciary asked him to step back into the main room during the annual DWI-Drug Court advanced conference last week.


Science history: the man who defined drunk driving
(Cosmos, 1/18/2019)
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a few alcoholic beverages and then pictured themselves being told to blow into the plastic straw presented to them by a police officer – and thus thought better of sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle – owes a debt of gratitude to Rolla N. Harger.

Appeals court upholds contested DWI conviction  
(The Free Press, 1/07/2019)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the DWI conviction of a Mankato man who claimed his arrest was unconstitutional.

Reminder for recipients of Office of the Governor specialty court awards, you are now required to provide notification of the Ombudsman Pilot Program to new and existing program participants. More information can be found under the DWI Court section in the Form Bank here.


Contact Us
If you have suggestions for items to be included in this Newsletter or wish to be removed from the Newsletter mailing list, please contact: 

Judge Laura A. Weiser
Judicial Resource Liaison

Holly Doran
TxDOT Program Director

The DWI Listserv is open to all judges handling DWI cases. If you would like to be added to the Listserv please send an email to hollyd@yourhonor.com. We are continuously adding to the Texas Judges’ DWI Resource Website with news articles and upcoming educational opportunities.  We hope you find the  information in this Newsletter interesting and helpful. Please contact the Traffic Safety Program with any questions or comments.