Texas House passes bill that will penalize cities that defund their police departments

Share:

AUSTIN, TX- On Friday, May 7th, the Texas House passed a bill that would financially penalize the state’s largest cities if they cut their police department budgets. 

According to reports, the measure was finally sent to the Senate after two days of heated debates and emotional speeches, with the bill authors calling to “back the blue” and the opposition decrying the bill as political propaganda. 

One of the bill’s author, Rep. Craig Goldman (R), said in a statement:

“We want more money spent on police to keep our communities safe, not less.”

House Bill 1900 would apply only to cities with a population of more than 25o,000 or the 11 largest cities in Texas. According to a preliminary count, at least nine Democrats, voted for the bill, which was eventually approved 90-49. 

During 2020, Governor Greg Abbott became laser focused on “backing the blue,” making legislation to punish cities that decrease police funding one of his emergency items this year.

HB 1900 was authored by Republican state Reps. Craig Goldman, Will Metcalf, Greg Bonnen, and Angie Chen Button and Democrat Richard Peña Raymond.

According to the bill, if a city with more than 250,000 residents was determined by the governor’s office to have cut police funding, the bill would allow the state to appropriate part of a city’s sales taxes and use that money to pay expenses for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Such cities would also be banned from increasing property taxes or utility rates, which could have been use to compensate for the reapportioned sales taxes. On the House floor on Thursday, May 6th, Goldman said:

“As municipalities across this nation are defunding their police departments, are taking money away from the police budgets and putting them elsewhere int their city budgets, this bill makes sure that in the state of Texas, that is not going to be allowed.”

In April, the Senate approved a similar measure, Senate Bill 23, which would require cities and counties to get voter approval before cutting police budgets.

Another measure, HB 2362, would cap government spending by cities and counties at the previous year’s total if cuts are made a police department budget, the number of officers, police overtime or recruitment, and training budgets to fill vacant positions. 

Democrats attempted to amend HB 1900 to give local officials and police departments more flexibility, but the Republican-led chamber voted down all but one.

Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D), laid out an unsuccessful amendment that would have allowed municipalities to make reductions in civilian positions with a police department, like janitors, instead of active law enforcement officers. He said:

“Let’s not play games with police officers. Let’s not play games with cities.”

Raymond defended HB 1900, stating that raising funds is how they can improve other functions, like education and healthcare. He said:

“You invest more in training our law enforcement officers, not less. That’s how you make it better.”

Police union leaders have supported the bill, saying that reducing funding makes their work more difficult. Chris Jones with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas said during the committee hearing of the bill:

“What you’re actually doing is causing officers to do twice as much or a lot more than what they were doing before. I know this is kind of a controversial topic, but we think it’s important to understand that there’s going to be crime and there’s going to continue to be needs. You’re not going to have a civilian be able to in and break a bar room fight.”

Governor Greg Abbott voiced his support for the bill in a recent tweet. He wrote:

“The Texas House is passing a law that cracks down on cities that try to defund the police. In Texas, we don’t demonize or defund the police. Instead, we #BackTheBlue.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Texas officer hailed as hero after taking out active shooter just as he opens fire at airport

April 16th, 2021

SAN ANTONIO, TX – A police officer is being hailed as a hero after he shot an active shooter at San Antonio Airport just as the gunmen began his attack.

The incident began around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday when the man drove into the airport terminal going the wrong way.

An unidentified San Antonio Park police officer working an overtime detail observed the vehicle and confronted the man in Terminal B. The man immediately exited the vehicle and opened fire on the officer and the building.

The officer immediately returned fire, striking the active shooter. The gunman was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the officer’s quick actions saved lives:

“(The shooter) had a lot of ammunition and was shooting indiscriminately. We’re lucky today not to have a lot of people injured or killed during this event.”

Police believe the shooter was also responsible for an incident earlier in the day when shots were fired off of Highway 281 and Loop 1604.

About four hours before the airport incident, witnesses told police they saw a man shoot from the flyover overpass. No injuries were reported during that incident.

Witnesses described the man as bald and wearing a red shirt. They said he was driving either a red Mini Cooper or a Gray minivan, according to McManus.

Hollywood Park Police Chief Shad Prichard issued a safety alert asking drivers to avoid the area due to an “active shooter investigation.”

A witness to the earlier shooting said the man looked calm during the incident. Courtney Chambers said she was putting her child in a car seat when she heard several sounds like a backfire. She turned around and saw the man standing on the overpass fire the gun.

Chambers said the man appeared “nonchalant” and stood there for a minute just “popping off rounds.”

The man then calmly walked back to his vehicle and drove away.

The officer who shot the suspect is an 11-year veteran of the San Antonio Park Police.

CHief McManus said the officer saved many lives:

“The officer in my opinion was a hero today, he saved a lot of lives that could have been lost.”

The FBI was on the scene but said the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related. FBI will assist San Antonio police with their investigation into the incidents.

The man was known to police from prior contacts. The only information released was that the shooter was in his 40’s, and had a history of mental illness.

SAPD confirmed that several people were trampled as people reacted to the shooting and lockdown at the airport, with at least one person breaking their foot in the panic. 

Two people were taken to the hospital for treatment, including a passenger with a broken foot and another passenger who may have been struck by shrapnel during the shooting.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) said that when the shooting started, passengers were allowed to run past security checkpoints for safety. The TSA added that everyone would be re-screened following the incident.

Media reports also indicated that some passengers in the terminal refused to exit an elevator until police showed them identification.

A motive for the shootings is under investigation.

 Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Reports: Multiple people down, officer shot in ‘active shooter’ situation inside Colorado grocery store

March 22, 2021

 

BOULDER, CO – Details are coming in, albeit limited, regarding an active shooter that was inside of a grocery store during the afternoon of March 22nd. Even though the scene is still active, here is what’s known so far about the situation.

News first broke after Boulder Police announced via Twitter that there was an active shooter inside of the Kings Sooper grocery store located on Table Mesa.

Police further directed where media could stage their equipment:

“Media Staging Area is at the intersection of Broadway and Table Mesa. This is still an active scene. Please avoid the area.”

In a follow-up tweet from the Boulder Police Department, they’d noted that the scene was still “very active” while requesting that nobody broadcast any tactical information online:

“Please avoid the area of Table Mesa & Broadway! This is still a very active scene. Do NOT broadcast on social media any tactical information you might see.”

Said notice regarding the request to not showcase tactical positioning online is likely a means to avoid any possible subjects involved in the incident gaining intel that can jeopardize police on scene.

CNN reported, as well as other local outlets, that one individual was seen being taken away in handcuffs. All that was said about the handcuffed subject was that he had a “bloody leg” and was led away from the store by authorities.

It’s currently unclear whether that individual is a suspect in the shooting.

There have been reports of injuries, but it is unclear as to how many as of this writing. Reportedly three medevac helicopters were called in and were landing at Fairview High School during the incident.

Law enforcement sources have told Law Enforcement Today that an officer was among “multiple victims” who were shot.  Police radio chatter indicates that the officer was among at least seven people who have been shot.  Local police have not confirmed that at this point.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis shared the following on Twitter regarding the developing situation:

“Like my fellow Coloradans, I am closely watching unfolding events at King Soopers in Boulder. My prayers are with our fellow Coloradans in this time of sadness and grief as we learn more about the extent of the tragedy.”

This is a developing story.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into the situation in Boulder.

 

 

 _

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!

Facebook Follow First

Share:
Related Posts