Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse Encourages Parties, Candidates to Make New Disclosures Available to Voters Online
AUSTIN, Texas – With early voting for the March 5 primary elections beginning on Feb. 20, Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) is working to raise awareness about changes in Texas election laws impacting judicial candidates. These changes require new disclosures for judicial candidates, and TALA urges candidates or the political parties to make these disclosures accessible to all voters.
“Texas voters – whether they cast their ballots in the Democratic or Republican primary elections – should be aware of important changes in this year’s election impacting judicial candidates,” said Robert Wood, spokesman for Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse. “The Texas Legislature made great strides to improve judicial training and transparency from the ballot box to the bench, and voters should have easy access to this information.”
House Bill 2384 by state Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano introduced new requirements for a judicial candidate’s application for a place on the ballot in the March 5 primary elections. Under the new requirements, a judicial candidate’s application:
- Must include candidate’s bar number and disclosure of any public sanction, censure, or disciplinary sanctions in Texas or another state; and
- Must clearly state, for a previous five-year period, the nature of the candidate’s practice, any legal specialization, the candidate’s professional courtroom experience, and any final conviction for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor in the past 10 years. Candidates for appellate court seats would go a step further, describing appellate court briefs and oral arguments for the past five years.
These changes, approved by the Legislature in 2023 and effective starting with 2024 elections, apply to the following judicial positions: chief justice or justice of the Supreme Court; presiding judge or judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals; chief justice or justice of a Court of Appeals; district judge, including criminal district judge; family district judge; judge of a statutory county court; county court-at-law judge; county criminal court judge; and county probate court judge.
While the new judicial candidate disclosure requirements are a matter of public record, candidate applications are not required to be shared online. Candidates and political parties should do so voluntarily, Wood said.
“We should all want our judges to demonstrate the highest level of skill and competence, and Texas voters should know their candidates’ qualifications and that good judges matter,” said Wood. “Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse encourages candidates and the political parties to make the information on these applications easily accessible to voters by posting them online.”
TALA also encourages all registered voters to actively participate in the upcoming elections by researching what’s on the ballot and learning where candidates stand on civil justice issues.
“It’s important that voters not only show up on Election Day but also take an active interest in learning about the candidates and where they stand on civil justice reform,” said Wood.
Key dates and resources for the 2024 primary elections include:
|First day of early voting in the March 5, 2024 primary elections
|Feb. 20, 2024
|Mail ballot application deadline
|Feb. 23, 2024
|Last day of early voting in the March 5, 2024 primary elections
|March 1, 2024
|Primary election day
|March 5, 2024
Texas voters can check their voter registration, learn about what’s on the ballot, and find other information about the upcoming election at votetexas.gov.