AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked committees of the Texas Senate to study 84 charges during the interim before the 88th Legislative Session. Lt. Gov. Patrick made the following statement upon issuing the interim charges:
“The interim charges I released today reflect my priorities, the priorities Texans shared with me as I traveled the state and those of the members of the Texas Senate. Senators submitted nearly 600 policy recommendations for the Senate to study before next session. My staff and I spent nearly a month reviewing these recommendations. Our final list of 84 charges continued to be revised through this weekend. The committees will begin work in the coming weeks.
“Just last week, I added a charge in response to continued reports of a crime wave hitting Texas: the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles. I called Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and asked him to write a charge on catalytic converter theft, which has dramatically increased this year.
“In 2020, Houston had 1,793 of these thefts for the entire year. In just January and February of 2022, Houston has already recorded 1,974 catalytic converter thefts. This crime is costly to motorists and can be very dangerous. While these crimes can be random thefts by petty thieves, this is now a big business organized crime operation.
“Tragically, a day after Sen. Whitmire and I talked, off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Almendarez, assigned to the auto theft division, came out of a grocery store and saw thieves stealing the catalytic converter from his truck. A shoot out ensued, and he was killed in front of his wife. Last session, we passed House Bill 4110 concerning this issue but, obviously, more work needs to be done to stop these criminals in their tracks. If the family grants permission, I will recommend we name the legislation after Deputy Darren Almendarez.
“Following completion of the hearings, committees will file reports with their recommendations before the end of the year so we can hit the ground running when we gavel in the 88th Legislative Session in January 2023.
“I have a deep appreciation for the leadership of our committee chairs and Senate members. I know the long hours they will pour into studying these issues, holding hearings and making recommendations. I thank the entire Texas Senate for their diligent work and I look forward to reviewing their recommendations.”
Lt. Gov. Patrick’s 2022 interim charges are posted here.