Texas House Passes Bill That Will Give Penalties To Cities Who Cut Funding To Police

Texas is a path towards holding cities accountable who cut funding from its local law enforcement.

On Friday, the Texas House approved bills that would penalize communities with populations of 250,000 or more if they reduce funds for their police departments, a standard that 11 cities in the state meet. The bill comes after Republican Governor Greg Abbott sent a notice after Austin, Texas, slashed its police expenditure by $150 million.

According to a spokesperson of Governor Abbott told KXAN, the House-passed bill is to “ensure that no other cities follow Austin, Minneapolis, and Seattle down the path of defunding the police, which serves no purpose other than making their citizens less safe.”

The bill would only affect the state’s major cities; a House proposal that would have applied the bill’s rules to any town in Texas collapsed. Since Republicans control both the Texas House and Senate, the bill is likely to pass Congress and end up on Abbott’s desk. According to KXAN, if the bill is signed into law, it would take effect on September 1st.

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

Cities may be liable to the bill’s fines if it is learned that they have decreased funds to their police force, reduced the number of officers, or reduced overtime compensation or training for officers compared to the previous year.

Through an examination by the governor’s office’s criminal justice department, a city is eventually listed as a defunding city.

A city that is deemed to be underfunding the police forces will face a property tax limit, and the expense of federal law enforcement facilities will be deducted from the city’s sales tax revenue.

Texas Gov. Abbott praised the bill’s passage in a post on Friday to Twitter.

“It’s #NationalPoliceWeek. To my niece & all law enforcement officers across the Lone Star State, thank you for putting your lives on the line to protect our communities every day. Texas will ALWAYS #BackTheBlue,” Gov. Abbott posted to Twitter.

 

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