Select Page

canales

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, featured on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at The University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen.

Photograph By JOSUE ESPARZA

The public’s right to know about how executions take place in Texas – including current, controversial secret information regarding the lethal drugs used to administer the death sentence – would be dramatically strengthened under legislation filed on Friday, February 20, by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. House Bill 1587 by Canales would require the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to provide details about the names of the drugs used in the lethal injections, along with the identity of their manufacturers, the expiration dates of the deadly concoction, the results of laboratory tests performed on those ingredients, and pertinent information relating to the toxic substance. “In Texas, we do not give the bureaucrats the absolute authority to decide what the public can and cannot know about what their government is doing,” said Canales. “When it comes to the death penalty, Texans will not allow state government to keep secrets about this drug, which wields the power of life and death.” His support of disclosing such details in the name of open government has drawn strong support from Kelley Shannon, Executive Director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “The people of Texas need information to scrutinize their government and hold it accountable,” said Shannon, who helps lead the non-profit 301(c)(3) organization, which is devoted to promoting open government, freedom of speech, and freedom of press. “With the death penalty, we are talking about the ultimate punishment for a crime. The people have the right to know how their state is carrying out punishment by lethal injection.” On January 23, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review later this year the drug protocol increasingly used across the country to determine whether the use of lethal injections, under certain circumstances, constitute cruel and unusual punishment. “The U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming case will deal with the very important American protection against cruel and unusual punishment, which is a very complicated issue,” Canales said. “House Bill 1587 deals with the people’s right to know where Texas taxes are being spent to buy lethal drugs to use in executions. I will always fight for the people’s right to know about what their government is doing in their name.”

••••••

Texans’ right-to-know about lethal drugs used in executions would dramatically improve under bill filed by Rep. Canales

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

The public’s right to know about how executions take place in Texas – including current, controversial secret information regarding the lethal drugs used to administer the death sentence – would be dramatically strengthened under legislation filed on Friday, February 20, by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.

House Bill 1587 by Canales would require the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to provide details about the names of the drugs used in the lethal injections, along with the identity of their manufacturers, the expiration dates of the deadly concoction, the results of laboratory tests performed on those ingredients, and pertinent information relating to the toxic substance.

“In Texas, we do not give the bureaucrats the absolute authority to decide what the public can and cannot know about what their government is doing,” said Canales. “When it comes to the death penalty, Texans will not allow state government to keep secrets about this drug, which wields the power of life and death.”

His support of disclosing such details in the name of open government has drawn strong support from Kelley Shannon, Executive Director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

“The people of Texas need information to scrutinize their government and hold it accountable,” said Shannon, who helps lead the non-profit 301(c)(3) organization, which is devoted to promoting open government, freedom of speech, and freedom of press. “With the death penalty, we are talking about the ultimate punishment for a crime. The people have the right to know how their state is carrying out punishment by lethal injection.”

Canales called on Gov. Greg Abbott, who has previously ruled as Texas Attorney General that such information should be public, to lend his support to the bipartisan, proposed legislation.

As Attorney General, Abbott “on three occasions between 2010 and 2012 indicated that information identifying the manufacturer of supplier of lethal injection drugs is public information and the state should release it upon request,” according to The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

“These three attorney general opinions specifically rejected assertions that the state could withhold the information under exemptions for physical safety and ‘highly intimate and embarrassing information,” wrote Michael Rooney in his cover story, entitled “Lethal Secrecy”, published by the organization in the Spring of 2014.

Abbott’s decisions “also rejected the state’s claim that because the communications were between government lawyers, disclosure should be blocked on attorney-client privilege grounds,” Rooney reported.

According to “Lethal Secrecy”, Abbott had rejected claims by the Texas Department of Corrections that such information was not available to the public.

“As you have failed to demonstrate the information meets the . . . test for privacy, we find the drug quantities, expiration dates, last dates of purchase, and supplier names at issue are not confidential under common-law privacy and the department may not withhold this information,” the attorney general’s office found in a 2010 decision compelling disclosure and rejecting the argument that drug and supplier information did not qualify as highly embarrassing information, Rooney’s news analysis found (See more at: http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news-media-law/news-media-and-law-spring-2014/lethal-secrecy#sthash.4WuyBUMa.dpuf).

Canales said he was thus surprised and disappointed that Abbott reversed himself in 2014.

“Unlike some states, Texas law doesn’t specifically say whether prison officials must disclose where they get their lethal injection drugs,” the state representative said. “I believe it has always been the Legislature’s intent for our government to be as transparent as possible, and that my legislation will find widespread support at the Capitol.”

With or without the Texas governor’s support, the issue of lethal injections will not go away, he said.

On January 23, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review later this year the drug protocol increasingly used across the country to determine whether the use of lethal injections, under certain circumstances, constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s upcoming case will deal with the very important American protection against cruel and unusual punishment, which is a very complicated issue,” Canales said. “House Bill 1587 deals with the people’s right to know where Texas taxes are being spent to buy lethal drugs to use in executions. I will always fight for the people’s right to know about what their government is doing in their name.”

Highlights of HB 1587, as filed by Canales, would require that no later than 45 days before the date an execution is scheduled to occur, the director of the correctional institution division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shall post on the department’s Internet website the following information regarding each substance to be used in the execution:

• The name of the substance;
• The manufacturer of the substance;
• The expiration date of the substance;
• The results of any laboratory tests performed on such substance;
• The quantity of the substance; and
• Any other information in the department’s possession regarding the substance.

If the information is not available for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to post no later than 45 days before the date an execution is scheduled to occur, TDCJ shall make that information available as soon as that information is available, but no later than 14 days before the date of the execution is scheduled to occur.

CANALES LEGISLATION AUTHORED/COAUTHORED AS OF SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2015

Number of Bills: 43

Author (40):

HB 286
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/12/2015 H Referred to Ways & Means: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM

Caption:
Relating to collection costs that may be imposed in connection with certain delinquent ad valorem taxes owed by disabled veterans.

HB 287
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Investments & Financial Services: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to accounting and payoff statements for certain seller-financed residential loans.

HB 288
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Government Transparency & Operation: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to providing certain legislative information on the Internet in Spanish.

HB 294
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/12/2015 H Referred to Economic & Small Business Development: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM

Caption:
Relating to the eligibility of school bus drivers for unemployment compensation benefits.

HB 295
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Elections: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to acceptable forms of identification for voting.

HB 303
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Elections: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to documentation of proof of identification for voting.

HB 311
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Business & Industry: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to an executory contract for the conveyance of real property; providing a penalty.

HB 316
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to County Affairs: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to allowing a county commissioners court to contract with an attorney to enforce subdivision platting requirements in certain counties that are economically distressed or that are located near the international border of this state.

HB 382
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/12/2015 H Referred to Higher Education: Feb 12 2015 11:31AM

Caption:
Relating to public junior college district branch campuses, including a requirement that the South Texas Community College District establish a branch campus in a certain location.

HB 438
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Referred to Public Health: Feb 19 2015 11:53AM

Caption:
Relating to authorizing patients with certain terminal conditions to access certain investigational drugs, biological products, and devices that are in clinical trials.

HB 461
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/11/2015 H Referred to Criminal Jurisprudence: Feb 11 2015 11:25AM

Caption:
Relating to the creation of an offense for smoking tobacco in a passenger vehicle with a child present.

HB 493
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/16/2015 H Referred to Human Services: Feb 16 2015 2:50PM

Caption:
Relating to prohibiting the purchase of energy drinks under the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

HB 541
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Referred to Emerging Issues In Texas Law Enforcement, Select: Feb 18 2015 12:06PM

Caption:
Relating to the electronic recording of certain custodial interrogations.

HB 640
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Referred to Government Transparency & Operation: Feb 19 2015 11:53AM

Caption:
Relating to a study concerning the use of a digital image for identification and proof of licensure purposes.

HB 641
Author:
Canales | González, Mary

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Referred to Ways & Means: Feb 19 2015 11:53AM

Caption:
Relating to exempting textbooks purchased, used, or consumed by university and college students from the sales and use tax for limited periods.

HB 642
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Referred to Juvenile Justice & Family Issues: Feb 19 2015 11:53AM

Caption:
Relating to an alcohol awareness program or drug education program for certain minors convicted of or adjudicated to have engaged in, or placed on deferred disposition or community supervision for, certain drug or alcohol related offenses; authorizing a fee.

HB 644
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Referred to Criminal Jurisprudence: Feb 19 2015 11:53AM

Caption:
Relating to the contents of a search warrant and to the offense of tampering with a governmental record consisting of a search warrant.

HB 791
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/20/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to a distance learning program at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

HB 901
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/23/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to a student election to select the athletics nickname of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

HB 926
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/26/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to a study and report regarding the use of open-source instructional materials at public institutions of higher education.

HB 927
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/26/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to requiring certain textbook publishers to offer electronic textbooks.

HB 1010
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the disclosure of certain information and evidence by a prosecutor in a criminal case.

HB 1011
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to an appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to the fund for veterans’ assistance for grants to improve the level of health services provided to certain veterans.

HB 1012
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the state’s burden of proof in certain criminal asset forfeiture proceedings.

HB 1013
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to requirements regarding electronic access to instructional materials provided in printed book format purchased for public schools.

HB 1014
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the expunction of arrest records and files relating to certain nonviolent offenses.

HB 1015
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
01/28/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to notice provided to a court regarding certain defendants placed on state jail felony community supervision.

HB 1215
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/09/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the payment of gratuities to certain employees.

HB 1503
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/17/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the rights of certain defendants who successfully complete a term of community supervision.

HB 1504
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/17/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to a lottery prize winner’s choice to remain anonymous on authorization to withhold five percent of winnings.

HB 1515
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/17/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the consideration by employers of the consumer credit reports or other credit information of employees and applicants for employment; providing civil and administrative penalties.

HB 1587
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to disclosing certain information about each substance used to execute a person convicted of capital murder.

HJR 62
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
12/17/2014 H Filed

Caption:
Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the recording of certain proceedings of the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals and the publication of the recordings.

HR 376
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Reported enrolled: Feb 18 2015 9:30AM

Caption:
Congratulating the Edinburg High School cheerleading team on winning its division title at the 2015 National Cheerleaders Association Senior and Junior High School National Championship.

HR 377
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/17/2015 H Reported enrolled: Feb 17 2015 5:00PM

Caption:
Congratulating the Edinburg High School mock trial team on winning the Region One Mock Trial Competition.

HR 584
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Congratulating John David Franz, former mayor of Hidalgo, on being named a 2015 Pillar of Success by The University of Texas–Pan American Alumni Association.

HR 585
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Congratulating Carmen Pagan of McAllen on her selection as a 2015 Pillar of Success by The University of Texas-Pan American Alumni Association.

HR 586
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Congratulating Linda A. Tovar on her selection as a 2015 Pillar of Success by The University of Texas-Pan American Alumni Association.

HR 587
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Congratulating JoAnn Gama on being named one of the 2015 Pillars of Success by The University of Texas–Pan American Alumni Association.

HR 588
Author:
Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Congratulating Richard Garcia on being named one of the 2015 Pillars of Success by The University of Texas–Pan American Alumni Association.

Joint Author (3):
HB 1596
Author:
Guerra | Martinez, “Mando” | Longoria | Muñoz, Jr. | Canales

Last Action:
02/18/2015 H Filed

Caption:
Relating to the Hidalgo County Healthcare District; decreasing the possible maximum rate of a tax.

HR 174
Author:
Guerra | Canales | Muñoz, Jr. | Longoria

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Reported enrolled: Feb 19 2015 8:24AM

Caption:
In memory of McAllen Commissioner Scott Crane.

HR 444
Author:
Martinez, “Mando” | Canales | Longoria | Muñoz, Jr. | Guerra

Last Action:
02/19/2015 H Reported enrolled: Feb 19 2015 8:26AM

Caption:
Recognizing February 11, 2015, as Mid-Valley Day at the State Capitol.

••••••

Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County. HD 4o includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr, San Carlos and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!