A paid public notice in Wednesday’s Gilmer Mirror announced intent to introduce in the 83rd Legislature’s regular session “a bill to be entitled an Act ‘relating to the Upshur County Juvenile Board.’”
The notice gave no other details, but State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) made the announcement.
Fowler and 115th District Judge Lauren Parish are the board’s only two members. Fowler indicated that Judge Parish proposed the change, but “I’m certainly in agreement with it.”
(She was not immediately available for comment Thursday morning when The Mirror contacted her Gilmer office.)
Fowler said the potential legislation “really takes the Commissioners Court out of the mix,” so that only the board is in charge of the county’s Juvenile Probation Department.
The proposal also “clarifies that the County Judge is the chairman of the Juvenile Board,” he said.
Every Juvenile Board in Texas consists of the County Judge and whatever State District Judges serve in that county, he said. Since Judge Parish is the only State District Judge whose court is in Upshur County, the local board is comprised only of her and Fowler.
He said 2-member boards aren’t unusual “in a small rural county” like Upshur, although he noted that Marion County—which Judge Parish’s 115th District Court serves in addition to Upshur—has a 3-member board.
Fowler that is because Marion County has two State District Courts, Judge Parish’s and the 276th District Court of Judge Robert Ralston.
Upshur County Pct. 2 Comm. Cole Hefner said he doesn’t object to the proposed change in the Juvenile Board’s power.