Texas House passes bill that would punish cities that defund police
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas House has passed House Bill 1900, or the "Back the Blue" bill, that would punish Texas cities that reduce their police budgets.
Penalties could include disannexation and limits on tax revenue, but the bill only applies to municipalities with more than 250,000 people.
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State Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Fort Worth), who authored the bill, says the threshold is because crime is anecdotally up in metro areas across the country. Democrats however say the threshold isn't fair and a bill to protect law enforcement should protect all Texans, including rural communities and smaller municipalities in metro areas.
There was an attempt to add amendments to include all Texas communities or give municipalities the option to opt into the bill, but those were voted down.
"In Texas, we don't defund or disrespect our police," said Gov. Greg Abbott in response to the bill passing the House. "We support our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to keep our community safe."
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Abbott proposed legislation, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and then-House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, last summer discouraging the defunding of law enforcement a week after Austin City Council announced that it would be cutting $150 million from the Austin Police Department's budget.
HB 1900 now heads to the Texas Senate for consideration.