El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT Capitol: Press and press releases on Shapleigh, Marquez bills

Some press and press releases from state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh and state Rep. Marisa Marquez.


From the Austin-American Statesman: State Sen. Eliot Shaleigh, D-El Paso, introduced two bills to soothe “the invisible wounds of these wars,” he said. Senate Bill 196 would double the counseling efforts in schools serving students with parents in combat zones overseas to offer more one-on-one time. Working with three other senators, Shapleigh also drafted Senate Bill 1030 to improve health care services for military personnel and families affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.

From Shapleigh’s office: AUSTIN – On Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Austin, Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D- El Paso) passed his first bill out of the Texas Senate. The bill, SB 189, provides protections to military service members and their dependants from predatory payday lenders.

“From Dyer to Montana, consumers now pay up to 1,100 percent annual interest on predatory loans. SB 189 will protect soldiers and their families from predatory lenders by capping interest at 36 percent and having state law enforcement stop these abusive practices,” Senator Shapleigh said.

SB 189 would establish a 36 percent interest rate cap on military borrowers and dependents. This bill mirrors recent federal legislation that became effective in October 2007 and ensures that state law enforcement is empowered to combat predatory lenders.

At deployment time, when military families are faced with extra expenses at home and abroad, they may be more vulnerable to the promise of quick cash from payday lenders. As a result, the Department of Defense concluded that payday lending and other high-cost lending products are a threat to national security and destructive to troop morale while being actively deployed.

Although federal legislation has been passed, SB 189 is necessary because it gives state regulators a role in enforcement.

Now that SB 189 has passed out of the Senate, it will move to the Texas House of Representatives for consideration.



News release from the office:

Rep. Marquez Files Corrections Reforms
Freshman Moving Texas Corrections Forward

AUSTIN, TX—Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso), who sits on the House Committee on Corrections, filed bills that would position Texas to support the national trend of humanizing the corrections system. HB 3649, 3653 and 3654 all relate to improving jail standards.

HB 3649 would make reference and educational material more available to Texas inmates by allowing certain organizations to mail books directly to them. Marquez was motivated by studies which positively correlate reduced recidivism rates to correctional education. [1]

“We commend Rep. Marquez’s efforts to improve public safety by increasing the educational base and spiritual growth of incarcerated persons. It’s a fact that the more schooling an imprisoned person receives, the less likely he or she is to get in trouble upon release,” said Ana Yáñez-Correa, Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

The most requested items by prisoners tend to be dictionaries and religious books. In 2005, only 85 out of 106 Texas prison facilities even had libraries.

“Many facilities are lacking in GED and career training materials. This bill aims to help prisoners be prepared to make successful transitions back into society and reduce recidivism,” concluded Marquez.

Rep. Dora Olivo (D-Fort Bend) also joint authored two bills with Marquez. HB 3653 and 3654 intend to develop health care standards for imprisoned women, and ensure safe birthing environments for the mother, child and correctional staff.

Marquez is serving her first term in the Texas House of Representatives. She represents District 77, containing downtown El Paso, UTEP , and neighborhoods near Fort Bliss. She sits on three committees: Corrections, County Affairs, and Rules & Resolutions.


[1] Chappell, Cathryn A. Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis of Research Conducted 1990-1999. Journal of Correctional Education, Jun 2004.

Written by newspapertreeelpaso

March 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Oh brother! MARQUEZ is such a waste for her district. Thank God her replacement is ready.


    March 19, 2009 at 2:40 pm

  2. Well, her replacement had better sit down before s/he gets tired. I believe in Rep. Marquez, and I truly believe she will do an outstanding job, as she is alredy doing. What Freshman Rep. can say that he/she hit the ground running as Marquez has done? Not many, I’ll bet. She has the respect of her colleagues, and the respect of her fellow legislators – for the most part. She is not shy about tackling the tough issues -such as helping incarcerated persons from falling into the recidivist rate, which is tremendous for Chicanos and African Americans. The stats about minorities being in prison in much larger numbers than the white population, are saying nothing new. That’s the best way to handle minorities, right? Just throw them in prison and throw away the key. Sure, we need libraries in prison, we need for these men and women to have an opportunity to succeed once they are in “la libre.” If we don’t help them, who will?

    Sin Fin

    Joe Olvera

    March 25, 2009 at 10:52 am

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