Under a bill by Texas State Representative Geanie W. Morrison (R- Victoria), co-authored by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), rulings by judges in judicial bypass cases will no longer be kept from the public. Such rulings would be included in a report by the Texas Office of Court Administration which is made public annually. The name of the minor involved would be kept anonymous.
Texas law provides that pregnant minors may go before a judge to request abortions without notifying their parents, managing conservators, or guardians. The law also stipulates procedures to be followed during these court proceedings. Until now, the names of the judges and the details of their rulings have been kept confidential, along with the names of the minors involved.
County court at law (criminal and civil), district (criminal and civil), probate, and family court judges all have jurisdiction over these cases.
H.B. 3994 requires the clerk of the court, at intervals to be defined by the Texas Office of Court Administration (OCA), to submit a report to the office that includes the case number; style of the case; the minor applicant’s county of residence; the court in which the proceeding occurred; date of filing; date of disposition; and the disposition of the case. The OCA would, in turn, be required to compile and publish a report annually. The bill requires all parties to “protect the anonymity of all minors that are the subject of the report.”
Rep. Ron Simmons had authored a similar bill, H.B. 1942, but pulled it on Wednesday to lend support to Morrison’s bill, as Morrison’s bill had already been reported favorably out of committee.
Rep. Simmons told Breitbart Texas that at this late stage in the session, he chose to become a joint author to H.B. 1942 because”both bills share the goal of saving as many unborn lives as possible, and ensuring the integrity of the judicial bypass process.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2