Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently promised that he would soon sign a bill into law that would blocks cities’ attempts to decrease police budgets.
Abbott made the vow after Austin police took a long time to respond to a shooting incident purportedly between two motorists, according to CBS News. Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday tweeted that it took 16 minutes before at least one officer could arrive on the scene, hinting that such a time gap could become the norm if the police were defunded.
“This is what defunding the police looks like,” Abbott wrote in a May 23 Twitter post. “Austin is incapable of timely responding to a victim shot in the head. Texas won’t tolerate this. We’re about to pass a law that I will sign that will prevent cities from defunding police. Sanity and safety will return.”
Abbott may soon get his chance to deliver on his vow. Earlier this month, The Texas House of Representatives approved House Bill 1900 which would punish municipalities that seek to defund law enforcement, KXAN News reported. State Rep. Craig Goldman worked together with the governor’s office to author the bill.
“Let’s support public safety in this state,” Goldman said, KXAN News reported. “Let’s support our police. Let’s back the blue.
According to the bill, a municipality must hold an election if it proposes a budget that would reduce funding, reallocate funds or reduce the number of officers available to a department compared to numbers from the previous year.
“In Texas, we don’t defund or disrespect our police. We always #BacktheBlue,” Abbott wrote in a May 24 Twitter post. “Which is why I made legislation preventing cities from defunding the police an emergency item this session. I look forward to signing it soon.”
The bill only applies to Texas cities with populations over 250,000 people, which includes Dallas and 10 other cities.
The bill passed the state Senate, but was recently postponed by the House.
A movement that promotes defunding police across the nation has been rising in popularity since last year following the death of George Floyd who was killed by former police officer Derek Chauvin.