FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2015
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN - Today, Senate Bill 1287 authored by Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa was voted out of the Senate and will advance to the House for consideration. SB 1287 requires the Forensic Science Commission to establish a process for licensing forensic analysts and requires forensic analysts to obtain licensing by January 1, 2019.
Texas law currently requires crime laboratories that practice certain forensic disciplines to be accredited by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) before testimony from lab employees is admissible in criminal cases. Analysts who engage in misconduct or make regular mistakes only face discipline within their laboratory, but there is no mechanism to prevent those analysts from moving to other labs in the state.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"Senate Bill 1287 would continue the state's reforms to ensure our forensic analysts are highly trained to do their important work in forensic testing such as controlled substance analysis, toxicology, DNA analysis, and firearm analysis. The testimony of forensic analysts is often a deciding factor in criminal cases, so it is critical that we establish minimum standards for their work in Texas."
Senate Bill 1287 would make Texas a national leader in forensic science by developing the state's own licensing program to ensure forensic analysts are held to the highest standards. Hinojosa said the standards developed in Texas could serve as a model for other states.
Hinojosa was an original author of the 2005 legislation that created the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which investigates professional negligence or misconduct that affects the integrity of the results of forensic analysis conducted by accredited laboratories.