Bill Text: TX HCR18 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced

Bill Title: Requesting the creation of a joint interim committee to study the legacy of convict leasing in Texas.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-11 - Referred to House Administration [HCR18 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HCR18-Introduced.html
  87R6393 TBO-D
  By: Reynolds H.C.R. No. 18
         WHEREAS, In 2018, the discovery of an unmarked burial ground
  at the former Imperial State Prison Farm site in Sugar Land drew
  national attention to an abhorrent chapter in history; and
         WHEREAS, Archeologists at the site found the skeletal remains
  of 95 victims of the convict leasing system, which was used after
  the Civil War to replicate the oppression that existed under
  slavery; although the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  prohibited involuntary servitude, it created an exemption for
  people convicted of crimes; Southern states took advantage by
  enacting "Black Codes," laws that applied only to African
  Americans, who could be prosecuted criminally for such offenses as
  loitering, breaking curfew, or not carrying proof of employment;
         WHEREAS, Prisoners of the state were leased as cheap labor to
  private railways, mines, and agricultural operations, including
  the sugar plantations along the Brazos River; while receiving no
  pay, convicts often endured conditions even more brutal than
  slavery, given that contractors had no financial interest in their
  well-being; more than 3,500 Texas prisoners died between 1866 and
  1912, when the legislature outlawed convict leasing; and
         WHEREAS, While the state and employers profited, the families
  and communities of victims suffered damage that spanned
  generations; a full understanding of the convict leasing system and
  its aftereffects is vital to addressing issues that continue to
  plague society today, including mass incarceration, convict labor,
  prison privatization, and entrenched poverty; now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 87th Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby request the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house
  of representatives to create a joint interim committee to study the
  legacy of convict leasing in Texas; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the committee examine the treatment of victims
  of the convict leasing system, the extent to which the State of
  Texas supported the system, and the lingering negative effects of
  the system; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the committee determine appropriate ways to
  educate the general public about the convict leasing system; and,
  be it further
         RESOLVED, That the committee submit a full report, including
  findings and recommendations, to the 88th Texas Legislature in
  January 2023; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the committee's proceedings and operations be
  governed by such general rules and policies for interim committees
  as the 87th Texas Legislature may adopt.