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Texas Gov. Abbott signs legislation to impose financial consequences on cities that defund police

"Efforts to defund the police are downright dangerous, and these laws will prevent cities from making this reckless decision," Abbott said.

Updated: June 3, 2021 - 10:27am

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation into law on Tuesday that seeks to prevent the defunding of police departments in the Lone Star State.

"Efforts to defund the police are downright dangerous, and these laws will prevent cities from making this reckless decision. These laws also help protect our law enforcement officers in the line of duty by enhancing penalties for crimes committed against them such as using fireworks or laser pointers to harm or obstruct the police. With these laws, we are bolstering our support for law enforcement while ensuring a safer future for all Texans," Gov. Abbott said.

One of the pieces of legislation "freezes property tax revenues for cities with a population over 250,000 that defund the police," according to the governor's press release, which also noted that the bill permits the state "to withhold sales taxes collected by a defunding city and give it to the Texas Department of Public Safety to pay for the cost of state resources used to protect residents of a defunded municipality."

Another piece of legislation requires obtaining the approval of voters in order to decrease law enforcement budgets in counties that have a population greater than one million people. The measure provides that if a county defunds police without securing approval from voters, the county's property tax revenues will be frozen.

Another bill "enhances the criminal penalty to a state jail felony offense for anyone who knowingly blocks an emergency vehicle or obstructs access to a hospital or health care facility," according to the press release, while another bill "enhances criminal penalties for the use of laser pointers and creates an offense for the use of fireworks to harm or obstruct the police." 

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