Gov. Abbott says democrats who fled Texas to try and block a bill will be arrested upon return

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TEXAS – During a recent appearance on Fox News, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that Democratic lawmakers who fled the state of Texas in an effort to stop the legislature from holding a quorum to vote on an elections-related bill will be arrested when they return to Texas.

On July 12th, Governor Abbott appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle” to discuss the state’s elections overhaul bill and also brought up the Democrats from the legislature that fled the state in order to stall from voting on the elections bill.

According to Governor Abbott, members of the Texas House of representatives who are still in the state of Texas can call for the arrests of their colleagues when they do not show up to vote on matters. The only problem is these Democratic lawmakers can only be arrested in the state of Texas.

However, Governor Abbott says that once they set foot back in Texas, they will be arrested for intentionally abdicating from their duties:

“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business.”

These Democratic legislators from Texas are not shy about what they’re trying to do, as they’ve all flown out to Washington, DC and have proclaimed that they are intentionally abdicating from their duties in order to run out the clock on the special legislative session to kill the elections bill.

Apparently, Democratic legislators in Texas feel as though Republicans in the state House are trying to suppress potential voters by way of passing their elections-related bill, whereas Republicans feel these legislative efforts would ensure voting/election integrity.

Senator Ted Cruz recently shared remarks on the “political stunt” that Texas Democrats have pulled by way of fleeing the state to abdicate from their duties they’re obligated to partake in:

“What we’re seeing from these Texas Democrats is nothing short of a political stunt and cheap political theater. They’re protesting doing the jobs they were elected to do, and instead flying to Washington, D.C. on private jets. Texas is considering an important bill that would strengthen Texas’s voting rights and election integrity.”

Jessica Anderson, the president of Heritage Action, mirrored the sentiments of Senator Cruz, saying the state Democrats have “abandoned their constituents”:

“Instead of showing up to represent Texans and pass popular election integrity laws, Texas Democrats walked out of the special session, boarded private jets to DC, and abandoned their constituents.”

“With this political stunt, Texas Democrats turned their backs on the majority of Texans who support common-sense election integrity efforts like voter ID requirements and protections against ballot harvesting.”

Whether or not Texas Democrats will be able to run out the clock for the month-long special session is debatable, but even the Associated Press reported that the stunt is unlikely to work since these legislators have “families to feed and mortgages to pay.”

Not only are the Texas Democrats subject to arrest upon their return to the state, but they’re also putting themselves at risk of losing their legislative pay and opening themselves up to lawsuits for their illegal efforts.

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In other news relating to Texas and Governor Abbott, the Lone Star State governor wants the federal government to reimburse the state for ballooning costs caused by the influx of illegal immigration at the southern border. 

We at Law Enforcement Today reported on this matter back in April. Here’s that previous report. 

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AUSTIN, TX – In an escalating battle between Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and the Biden administration over the crisis at the southern border, the Governor said Thursday that he wants the federal government to reimburse Texas for costs incurred by the border surge and resulting crime increase.

During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Gov. Abbott said:

“(Texas officials) are enforcing the law by going into these stash houses, by making arrests, by making the apprehensions, doing everything that the Biden administration is supposed to be doing, but even more than that.

“Because what happens is these cartels know exactly what they’re doing, and they distract the Border Patrol so that they can try to sneak into the U.S. drugs or people from terrorist-sponsor nations and that’s exactly why we need Texas law enforcement filling that gap so that we can detect and crack down on crimes like that that may be coming across the border.”

The Governor has been critical of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies since taking office in January. President Biden announced the relaxation of immigration enforcement and other actions that have resulted in a surge of illegal immigrants arriving at the border with Mexico.

On March 6, Governor Abbott announced Operation Lone Star to send Texas law enforcement personnel and resources to high threat areas along the border. On March 17, he expanded the operation to include anti-human trafficking efforts.

The Governor said that Texas law enforcement is having to do the job that the federal government should be doing, and the state should be reimbursed for the expense to its taxpayers:

“We are asking the federal government to re-imburse Texas for the cost that we are incurring because of this.”

Gov. Abbott said that the President’s “open border policies” are resulting in an increase in crime coming over the border into Texas, and Texas law enforcement having to deal with it. In just four weeks, the Texas Department of Public Safety has arrested over 600 criminals who entered the country illegally, according to the Governor.

The Governor added that over 16,000 illegal immigrants were seized in the same time period and released to the Border Patrol. He gave one example:

“Let me give you one example. The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated a ‘stash house.’ At that ‘stash house,’ they found four illegal immigrants plus a gang member who was wanted on two counts of rape of a child.”

Gov. Abbott said that the Biden administration was flooding immigration facilities with far too many immigrants and is violating federal law:

“The Biden administration, I believe, is clearly in violation of what the federal standards are. As we have found in the Midland location, for example, not only did we find that more than ten percent of the unaccompanied minors… had tested positive for Covid, but also we found a lack of safety in the region such as not having adequate fencing or guarding around it to prevent people from getting out.”

In March, the Biden administration offered to reimburse local officials and nonprofits in Texas who are helping migrant families released from custody at the border by proving shelter and testing them for COVID-19.

Gov. Abbott rejected the offer, saying the program created an “illegal immigration program”:

“(Texas will) not aid a program that makes our country a magnet for illegal immigration.”

The Governor also sent a letter on March 30 to Vice President Kamala Harris, whom the President tasked with addressing the border crisis. In the letter, Gov. Abbott wrote:

“Now that President Biden has named you Border Czar in charge of the administration’s response, I want to express to you the threats and challenges caused by this administration’s open border policies.

These policies embolden and enrich cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers who continue to ramp up their criminal operations.

“Given your new role as the administration’s Border Czar, I urge you to visit the border to see the crisis for yourself, and I implore the Biden administration to take swift action to secure the border, crack down on human trafficking, and prevent more children from being trafficked and abused.”

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Back in June, Governor Abbott also conveyed a message to cities potentially entertaining the idea of defunding the police in Texas – that message being that if a city defunds their police, that city will face some defunding of their own from the state-level. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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AUSTIN, TX – Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas legislature sent a message to the city of Austin, and every other city in the Lone Star state: You want to defund the police? Then we will defund you. 

The Austin City Council cut the police department budget back in August of 2020 by a whopping 33%, or $150 million.

The new budget called for an immediate reduction of roughly $20 million and included the cancellation of the next three scheduled police academies, although they said they would reconsider allowing limited academy attendance if the curriculum were revised in a “suitable manner” (more details on what led up to this vote below).

They also said that any open positions that could not be filled in FY2020-2021 would be eliminated altogether. 

As part of the recently completed legislative session in Texas, law makers crafted a bill and passed House Bill 1900, signaling that the state of Texas has the backs of their law enforcement agencies. Governor Abbott signed that bill into law on Sunday, June 27th, and it takes effect on September 1st. 

The law requires that any Texas municipality with a population of more than 250,000 must hold an election before they are able to reduce law enforcement funding. If they do reduce it, they will face the same penalties that the state’s capitol city might see with further defunding actions like we saw last year. 

After HB 1900 passed, Abbott told Fox’s Harris Faulkner: 

“…I’m about to sign a law that will ensure that cities in the state of Texas will not be able to defund the police,” Abbott said according to Fox News.

“First, the context: and that is that you pointed out, what’s going on in Minneapolis, where it is both a tragedy and a disaster. What’s going on for the residents of Minneapolis because of the defunded police and you’ve seen the same thing in Portland and Seattle and Chicago and New York, et cetera. 

“Unfortunately, we had the same thing happen here in the state of Texas where the city of Austin defunded police … and because Austin defunded the police, we wanted to do two things in this session.

One, we wanted to make sure that there were going to be consequences for the city of Austin. The second is we wanted to make sure that no other city in the state of Texas would defund police.

This new law will not cause Austin to feel the pinch for its decision, unless they choose to defund the Austin Police Department budget again in the next fiscal year.

Keep in mind, the city has already eliminated three academy classes, seen numerous officers retire or resign and are attempting to delete any open positions that are not filled by the end of this summer. What does all that mean? Fewer officers on the streets of Austin, Texas. 

As illustrated below, the city and its residents are certainly feeling the impact of the city council’s decision. 

Abbott has not been shy in his criticism of the move by the Austin City Council. 

Nor has he been alone in that criticism. 

Our friends at TMPA took out a few billboards in the Austin area last year to highlight what this could mean in the city. 

So, what exactly does the bill allow the governor to impose on the city of just over 1 million residents? 

Annexation/Disannexation

Municipalities found to be in violation of this new law will be disqualified from annexing any district or communities that were previously unannexed for a period of 10 years.

Subsequently, the municipality must, on the next uniform election date, put the question of dis-annexation on the ballot for any locations annexed in the previous 30 years.  Any areas that vote in favor of being dis-annexed must be immediately issued an ordinance of dis-annexation. 

The defunding municipality may not attempt a re-annexation within the same 10-year window mentioned previously. 

Taxation

While there are several aspects to the taxation capabilities of the defunding municipality, it basically states that the municipality may not raise property taxes. It also provides for situations in which the defunding municipality also owns any utility, preventing the utility from increasing fees. 

The governing body of a municipally owned utility may not charge a customer:
(1) at a rate higher than the rate the customer was charged or would have been charged on January 1 of the year that the municipality was determined to be a defunding municipality;
(2) any customer fees in amounts higher than the customer fees the customer was charged or would have been charged on
January 1 of the year that the municipality was determined to be a defunding municipality; or
(3) any types of customer fees that the customer was not charged or would not have been charged on January 1 of the year that the municipality was determined to be a defunding municipality.

While there are other functions of HB 1900, the gist of it is: if you are a city or county with a population of 250,000 or more people, and you decrease the law enforcement budget, the state will now limit your ability to create new revenue for the municipality for the foreseeable future.  

It also provides for the governor to deploy the Texas Department of Public Safety (state troopers) to provide the needed coverage in that municipality. To cover the cost associated with the DPS participation, the defunding municipality would have the cost deducted form their local sales tax revenue. 

While the law Abbott signed does not guarantee that there is no defunding activity in the state, it certainly creates a disincentive for doing so. 

Craig Goldman, a Republican from Fort Worth, wrote and sponsored the bill. 

“Let’s support public safety in this state. Let’s support our police. Let’s back the blue,” he said. 

Well said Mr. Goldman. Well said. 

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