Texas House passes bill that seeks to penalize cities for defunding police

On Friday, the Texas House passed a bill to penalize cities that defund their police. 

In the case that a city of over 250,000 people reduces its police funding, the state has the ability to confiscate its sales tax receipts and reallocate the money to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Cities are permitted to decrease funding if the cut is in tune with an overall city budget cut or if the city experiences an increase in other expenses from capital expenditure or disaster response. HB 1900 passed 90-49 with support from Governor Greg Abbott. Republican state representatives Craig Goldman, Will Metcalf, Greg Bonnen, Angie Chen Button, and Democrat Richard Peña Raymond sponsored the bill. 

Following anti-police rhetoric and protests last summer, Governor Abbott called for the creation of a similar measure, stating, “Part of our job as state leaders is to ensure the safety and security of all Texans, and we will not allow this core function to be undermined by cities that seek to defund and dismantle law enforcement agencies that have a sworn duty to protect our communities.”

Those in opposition to HB 1900 believe that the efforts are a sign of big government preventing local leadership from making decisions. Democratic state Representative Jasmine Crockett said, “This summer we saw protests in the streets, we also saw elected officials decide to make decisions because of police brutality,” Crockett said on the House floor. “We refuse to improve policing in this state. Instead, we attack those who are trying to care for our citizens.”

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