AUSTIN, Texas - Austin voters have spoken and Proposition A has passed.
Voters have approved an initiative ordinance to eliminate enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses and ban the use of "no knock" warrants by Austin police. Early voting and mail-in ballot numbers posted when polls closed Saturday show the proposition passed nearly 84 percent to just over 16 percent.
As of 9:27 p.m. the county's unofficial results show the proposition passing with nearly 47,000 voters, or just over 85 percent, saying yes.
The initiative, also known as the Austin Freedom Act, was placed on the ballot following a petition by voter engagement group Ground Game Texas. The new law would decriminalize Class A and Class B misdemeanor possession charges. That is up to about two ounces.
Austin police officers already have stopped enforcing this as in January 2020, the Austin City Council voted to stop spending money on marijuana testing and in 2019 the Travis County DA’s Office stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses. but this gives this rule more teeth and writes into city ordinance, according to Ground Game Texas in January.
No-knock warrant policies have been re-examined across the country following the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed by police in her Louisville, Kentucky home during a botched raid where the officers used a no-knock search warrant to enter her and her boyfriend's home.
Taylor was shot by two officers after they broke down her front door and returned fire when her boyfriend fired a handgun. Her boyfriend fired his gun once, saying later that he feared an intruder was entering the apartment. One officer was struck, and he and two other officers fired 32 shots into the apartment, striking Taylor five times.
Louisville later banned the use of no-knock warrants and named the new ordinance for Taylor.
In Texas, the Killeen City Council passed an ordinance in April 2021 banning the use of no-knock warrants.