AUSTIN – March 2, 2020 –Elizabeth Ross Hadley, a shareholder in the Austin office and Government Law & Policy Practice of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, advised in the development of a Texas bill authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson that would create a path to clemency for victims of domestic violence or human trafficking sentenced to prison for crimes committed while being abused or trafficked. Hadley represented Texas non-profit the Lone Star Justice Alliance (LSJA) pro bono in this effort during the 86th Texas legislative session.
Texas House Bill 3078 was the first of its kindproviding survivors coerced into committing crimes a second chance and the ability to clear their name. The bill was authored by State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and sponsored by State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo).
“Rep. Thompson has long been a champion of providing a second chance to victims of trafficking and abuse and we thank her for bringing this issue to the forefront in the 86th legislation session,” said Hadley and LSJA Executive Director Elizabeth Henneke. After passing the Texas legislature unanimously, House Bill 3078 was vetoed. However, continued efforts by the LSJA, and other stakeholders to help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence as the bill intended, have resulted in Governor Abbott establishing a customized clemency application specifically for survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence. This new application will address the challenges at the heart of House Bill 3078 passed by Rep. Thompson.
“This was an endeavor I was extremely proud to be a part of as I was able to utilize my knowledge and background in the government law and policy space to aid this amazing non-profit client pro bono in its interactions with the Texas legislature, and ultimately accomplish something that will change the lives of victims of human trafficking and domestic violence,” Hadley said. “It is really exciting that Governor Abbott took this step to put Texas at the forefront of this effort after Rep. Thompson’s work this last legislative session and her many years of unwavering support for these victims.”
The application will consist of a section that permits human trafficking and domestic violence survivors an opportunity to apply for a full pardon of crimes committed while under the hold of their abuser. The goal is to give survivors a chance to finally break free from the cycle of abuse and crime forced upon them. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles will review and make recommendations of pardons to the Governor.
“Providing a voice for those in need is something we should all aspire to do,” said State Rep. Thompson. “I was honored to pass HB 3078 and although disappointed with the veto, I am thankful the Governor recognized the need to continue working with stakeholders to create this solution that will help these victims. I appreciate Elizabeth and the LSJA for asking me to carry HB 3078 and the continued efforts to better serve our community in not letting a veto stop what matters most, freeing these victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow legislators, Gov. Abbott, and stakeholders to provide a pathway to freedom for these victims in Texas.”
Hadley’s government practice includes representing clients with legislative, regulatory, and administrative issues across all policy areas in Texas. She maintains a deep understanding of legislative and government agency processes given her prior experience working within the U.S. Senate, the Texas State Senate, and the Texas Department of Agriculture. Clients relay on this knowledge to help them with the rule-making process and advising on regulatory matters before state agencies, boards and commissions.
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