116 – Legislative Committee

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Purpose

From time to time, as deemed necessary by a legislative committee’s chairperson, the committee shall meet to review and consider proposed state and federal legislation affecting law enforcement, including, but not limited to, legislation specifically affecting the operations of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). If the committee determines a proposed bill should be supported or opposed, it will advise the Sheriff of its recommendations in writing. The committee may additionally:

  1. Recommend revisions to a proposed bill so as to make such legislation more acceptable to the HCSO or to law enforcement in general and
  2. Recommend whether a proposed bill should be the subject of lobbying efforts. If so, the committee shall identify and / or designate persons whose services will be enlisted to lobby for or against a proposed bill.
  3. The Sheriff, at his or her discretion, may follow the recommendations of the committee, but in no event shall any such recommendation be binding upon the Sheriff.

Policy

The legislative committee shall be composed of the following:

  • The Sheriff or his or her designee will serve as chairperson,
  • Special assistant,
  • All bureau majors.

The Sheriff or his or her designee may appoint or designate another member of the committee to act as chairperson in his or her absence. At his or her discretion, the chairperson may appoint as many subcommittees as he or she deems necessary to accomplish the tasks of the committee.

Addressing the Legislature

Any employee of the HCSO who, in his or her official capacity, intends to appear before a state or federal legislative committee or body, or before any group of legislators or any single legislator, for the purpose of lobbying for or against legislation, shall notify the legislative committee in writing prior to any appearance. Within the advance written notice, the employee shall also advise the committee of the position being taken by the employee with respect to the legislation being discussed and shall summarize the substance of the testimony or statements he or she intends to communicate, or, if the employee intends to present documentation in support of his or her position, shall provide the committee with a copy of the documentation.

Legislative Leave:

Sworn HCSO personnel may be eligible to take legislative leave in accordance with provisions of the Texas Government Code, Sections 614.001 to 614.010, or as amended, and Harris County policy, in order to serve in, appear before, or petition a governmental body during a regular or special session of that body.

  1. In order to be considered for legislative leave, an eligible employee must first submit a written request to the Sheriff not less than thirty (30) days prior to the contemplated beginning of such leave.
  2. Such written request shall specify the length of the legislative leave and that the employee is willing to reimburse Harris County for any wages, pension, and other costs that will be incurred by Harris County as a result of the leave.
  3. In applying for legislative leave, an eligible employee may be required to complete forms developed by the Harris County Auditor.
  4. No employee may begin legislative leave without having first obtained the Sheriff’s express written permission.
  5. The Sheriff or his or her designee reserves the right to deny or terminate legislative leave if the absence created by the leave would adversely impact the operations and / or good order of the HCSO.
  6. Employees interested in seeking legislative leave are encouraged to review the applicable statutory provisions for further details.

Revision

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

April 21, 2009

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