Abbott Announces $874.6 Million for Public Safety Initiatives


Governor Greg Abbott | Image by Office of Governor Greg Abbott

An additional $874.6 million will be allocated to support public safety initiatives, including border security and school safety, in Texas through a budget execution order from Gov. Greg Abbott.

The funding was announced on Thursday by Gov. Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan, Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman, and House Appropriations Chair Dr. Greg Bonnen.

According to the press release, $400 million will be allocated to “assist school districts in replacing or upgrading doors, windows fencing, communications, and other safety measures.”

Just over $339 million will be transferred to the Texas Military Department for continued border security activities related to Operation Lone Star — an initiative launched by Gov. Abbott to combat illegal immigration and prevent “criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking” along the southern border.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management will receive $100 million to cover COVID-19 response expenses, and $20.6 million will be provided to other state agencies under Operation Lone Star to “continue responding to the border crisis.”

“The State of Texas is working around the clock to support critical public safety efforts, including protecting communities across the state from the increasing threats pouring across our southern border, as well as enhancing the security of Texas schools,” Abbott said in the press release.

Additionally, $15 million will be allocated to assist Uvalde in the construction of a new elementary school.

“Texas continues providing support to the Uvalde community in the aftermath of tragedy as they rebuild,” he continued. “I thank my legislative partners for the swift allocation of these additional funds to ensure the ongoing safety and security of all Texans. Working together, we will continue boosting public safety statewide and supporting Uvalde in their efforts to heal and move forward.”

Speaker Phelan said, “These funds will continue to support the community of Uvalde in the wake of such a devastating tragedy earlier this year and will help bolster the safety of Texans. School security will be a priority for the Texas House during the 88th Legislature, and this additional funding is a meaningful step we can take in the meantime.”

“Securing the safety of our children and our southern border are issues of paramount importance,” said Lt. Gov. Patrick. “This action ensures that Texas is in a strong position to confront these issues head-on during the upcoming legislative session.”

Senator Huffman added, “As the crisis at our border continues, it is critical that the legislature continues to fund Operation Lone Star as the flow of illegal immigrants, weapons, and drugs has hit unprecedented levels.”

“Because the federal government has completely neglected this emergency, imagine how unsafe communities across the country would be had Texas not stepped up to provide its full support,” she continued. “It is also our duty to continue to support the Uvalde community, and a major state contribution toward a new school facility is part of that responsibility.”

“Furthermore, ensuring that our schools are safe and secure is one of my top priorities, and additional funding for school security is a prudent step. Improving campus safety will continue [to] be an ongoing priority as we prepare for the next legislative session,” Huffman said.

Dr. Greg Bonnen said, “The action taken today by the Legislative Budget Board provides essential resources to address the crisis at the border and further protect our schools. I am thankful for the strong leadership of Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, and Speaker Phelan on these critical public safety issues.”

The governor’s press release also noted that the Legislature will consider additional funding for school safety and Operation Lone Star during the next legislative session.    

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4 months ago

This should have been done years ago. He is only doing this now because of not taking responsibility for Uvalde and only wants to get re-elected.