State Watch

Texas governor vows to sign bill to block efforts to defund police

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Sunday that he will sign legislation that makes it more difficult for cities to defund the police, which includes reducing or reallocating police budgets.

Abbott announced his intention to sign such a bill in response to a Sunday tweet from Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday, which said that no units were available for 12 minutes after a 911 call was made to the police department.

Casaday said authorities arrived on the scene 16 minutes after the call was initially made. A victim was critically injured after being shot in the head.

“This is what defunding the police looks like,” Abbott wrote on Twitter in response to Casaday’s tweet. “Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head,” adding “Texas won’t tolerate this.”

“We’re about to pass a law-that I will sign-that will prevent cities from defunding police. Sanity & safety will return,” the governor added.

Abbott doubled down on his pledge on Monday, promising to sign a bill that would force municipalities to hold elections on proposed funding cuts or budget reallocations for local police departments as a percentage of its total budget before the changes are implemented, according to The Washington Post.

The bill would also require elections for proposals to reduce the number of officer positions and lessen the budget for recruitment and training of new officers.

The legislation, dubbed the “Back the Blue Act,” also says that if the state comptroller’s office discovers that a local government slashed funding without an election, the municipality would not be permitted to increase property taxes for the next fiscal year.

The state Senate, controlled by Republicans, passed the bill last month by a 28-2 vote, with most Democrats joining the GOP members to support it. The state House vote was postponed on Monday, according to the newspaper.

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