AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice will host the policy panel “Getting Rid of Unnecessary Criminal Laws” at the 12th Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature on Wednesday, January 8 at 3:25 p.m. at the Sheraton Austin Hotel in the Capitol View Terrace North.

“There are over 1,700 criminal laws in Texas,” said the Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice Director Marc Levin, “including 1,500 outside the penal code and even eleven felonies related to oysters! ‘Overcriminalization’ has been a dreadful burden on individuals and business in Texas for years, and we need to move back towards a system that recognizes the difference between a crime and something that is better handled through civil or administrative remedies.”

Panelists include:

  • Vikrant Reddy (TPPF moderator) is a policy analyst with the Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice. Reddy has worked as a research assistant at The Cato Institute, as a law clerk to the Honorable Gina M. Benavides of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, and as an attorney in private practice, focusing on trial and appellate litigation.  
  • Representative Bryan Hughes Bryan Hughes represents District Five in the Texas House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development, and Regulatory Agencies. He also serves on the Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
  • Representative Jeff Leach represents State Representative Jeff Leach represents the citizens of House District 67, consisting of portions of Plano, Allen, Richardson and Dallas in Collin County.
  • Mr. Shannon Edmonds is the Director of Governmental Relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA). Mr. Edmonds serves as a liaison between prosecutors and the Texas Legislature on criminal justice, juvenile justice, and government representation issues. Upon the conclusion of each legislative session, he authors TDCAA’s popular Legislative Update book, a comprehensive analysis of legislative changes that affect the Texas criminal justice system.
  • Mr. Paul Larkin is a Senior Legal Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

For twelve years, the Foundation’s Policy Orientation has been one of the nation’s top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. Last year’s Policy Orientation attracted approximately 1,100 attendees including 100 state legislators and hundreds of legislative staff from both sides of the aisle.

This year’s program includes more than 25 panel discussions and debates on the major issues affecting Texas’ future.  The program will be updated with additional events and speakers in the coming weeks. Members of the public and media who wish to attend may register and view the agenda here:

Marc Levin is the Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. 

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