Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters Tuesday if a city defunds the police, then "we're going to defund the city." House Bill 1900, which passed the Texas Senate on May 24, 2021, is expected to make it to the governor's desk soon. The bill would require a county or municipality to hold an election before a local government can reduce law enforcement funds.
"I'm about to sign a law that will ensure that cities in the state of Texas will not be able to defund the police," Abbott said according to Fox News. "First, the context: and that is that you pointed out, what's going on in Minneapolis, where it is both a tragedy and a disaster. What's going on for the residents of Minneapolis because of the defunded police and you've seen the same thing in Portland and Seattle and Chicago and New York, et cetera.
Unfortunately, we had the same thing happen here in the state of Texas where the city of Austin defunded police … and because Austin defunded the police, we wanted to do two things in this session. One, we wanted to make sure that there were going to be consequences for the city of Austin. The second is we wanted to make sure that no other city in the state of Texas would defund police."
In October, the city of Austin cut its law enforcement budget. The city's Mayor Stephen Adler said he was "searching for new ways" to keep his city safe, according to The Washington Post. Gregorio Casar, a member of the Austin City Council, also backed the sentiment of the mayor. "We are showing the country how reinvestments from the police budget can actually make many people's lives so much better and safer," Casar said.
On Sunday, Abbott tweeted, "This is what defunding the police looks like," in response to a 911 call about a person who was shot in the head. It took 16 minutes for responders to reach the victim.
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