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HB 478 would amend the chapter entitled “Pardon and Parole” within the Code of Criminal Procedure to reflect that the restoration of civil rights would be applicable to any offense under the laws of this state as long as the sentence was completed, three years have passed after conviction, and the individual has not been convicted subsequently convicted under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States.
In the state of Texas under certain circumstances a person convicted of a felony under federal law or under the laws of another country can petition for restoration of civil rights that were relinquished upon conviction. However, there is no opportunity to petition for restoration of civil rights for a person convicted under Texas law.
HB 478 would protect the individual liberty of those convicted of felonies under Texas law who have completed their sentences to be restored of their civil rights in certain circumstances. Under the provisions of this legislation, after an individual serves their sentence and has paid their debt to society for a felony conviction under Texas Law they would have an opportunity to petition to have their rights restored. This would bring the restoration of rights for people convicted under Texas law into alignment with the rights of those convicted under federal or foreign law. This supports individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government. Consequently, we support HB 478.
For additional information on the rights of which felons are restricted, please view a list of resources at the Texas State Law Library.