The 2017 Statewide Texas Lobby Day to Abolish the Death Penalty will be held Monday, April 17, 2017, when the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will hold a hearing on the bills to abolish the death penalty and the bill to ban executions in law of parties cases. Members of Jeff Wood’s family and Kenneth Foster, Jr’s family will testify at the committee hearing in the afternoon to determine who pays damages and speak at the press conference at noon in the Speaker’s Committee Room 2W.6.
COMMITTEE: Criminal Jurisprudence
TIME & DATE: 2:00 PM or upon final adjourn./recess
Monday, April 17, 2017
Schedule of the 2017 Statewide Texas Lobby Day to Abolish the Death Penalty, April 17, Monday.
9 AM – 10 AM Check-in and meet for directions and lobbying tips. Capitol cafeteria, room E1.002. They serve breakfast till 10:30.
10:00 – Noon Visit legislative offices to lobby legislators to support abolishing the death penalty and banning death sentences in law of parties cases.
Noon Press Conference in the Speaker’s Committee Room (2W.6). Special guests include State Rep. Harold Dutton and State Rep. Jeff Leach, plus Terri Been and other family members of Jeff Wood, who remains on death row convicted under the law of parties, and Lawrence Foster, grandfather of Kenneth Foster, Jr, who won clemency in 1007 after being sentenced under the law of parties.
1 PM Lunch at your own expense in the Capitol cafeteria.
2 PM Hearing on abolition and law of parties bills in Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence E2.014. You can testify verbally, submit written testimony, or just sign in to support the bills without testifying.
We are raising funds so that we can bring some death row exonerees to the Capitol in Austin to participate in the lobby day and to testify at the committee hearing. Please donate to help us bring the exonerees to lobby day.
People from across Texas will come to the Capitol in Austin on Lobby Day to advocate for three bills to abolish the death penalty in Texas (HB 64 filed by State Rep Harold Dutton and HB 1537 by State Rep Jessica Farrar, as well SB 597 filed by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr).
We will also lobby for bills that would prohibit death sentences for people convicted under the Law of Parties even though they did not kill anyone (HB 147 by Rep Dutton and HB 316 by Rep Terry Canales). Last summer, Jeff Wood’s scheduled execution under the law of parties was stayed shortly before his scheduled execution. Many legislators spoke out to support clemency for Jeff Wood, because he did not kill anyone. Now, is our chance to pass a bill to prohibit executions under the law of parties.
In the past, our Lobby Day has resulted in several legislators signing on to support the bills we lobbied for. In 2015 we visited the office of Senator Eddie Lucio Jr and asked him to file a bill to abolish the death penalty. He filed his abolition bill two weeks later.
As we do every session, we are calling this the “Day of Innocence” at the capitol. Special guests will include people who were sentenced to death and later exonerated. We will announce who will come soon.
We will visit legislative offices and ask legislators to support abolishing the death penalty. We will hold a press conference at noon. We will also attend the committee hearing starting at 2 PM and testify in support of the bills. Anyone can sign up to testify or you can just sign in as a supporter of the bills without testifying. You can submit written testimony or deliver your testimony verbally in front of the committee members.
This will be a day we will always remember, a day when we stand side by side with innocent people who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death and side-by-side with family members of people sentenced to death under the law of parties.
Please be sure to dress professionally.
The Statewide Lobby Day to Abolish the Death Penalty has been organized since 2003 by several organizations working together: Texas Moratorium Network, Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Kids Against the Death Penalty, and Students Against the Death Penalty.
Organizations that would like to participate or co-sponsor the lobby day can contact any of the above mentioned organizations.