DALLAS – Updated at 12:32 p.m.:
Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced six legislative proposals that, if approved, would crack down on rioters.
The string of new proposed crimes for offenses include:
- Causing injury or the destroying of property would lead to felony-level offenses.
- Striking a law enforcement officer during a riot will require minimum jail time of at least six months.
- Using lasers to target law enforcement officers will be a felony offense.
- Blocking hospital entrances and exits by protesters will be a felony offense.
- Using fireworks will be a crime that could lead to jail time.
- Aiding and abetting by funding riots would be a felony offense.
Some of the proposals are enhancements to current laws and others are new.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to make an announcement on legislative proposals about public safety on Thursday.
Abbott is slated to speak at noon at the Dallas Police Association’s headquarters. His remarks will be livestreamed in this article; if there is not a livestream available, check back at a later time.
The announcement comes amid weeks of criticism from Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republican lawmakers over activists' efforts to defund the police amid a summer of civil unrest due to police brutality and racial injustice.
Just Wednesday, the Dallas City Council voted to approve a budget that increased police spending but cut $7 million for overtime for officers, according to the Associated Press. San Antonio councilmembers passed a $2.9 billion budget last week that makes few changes to the SAPD budget.
That’s a stark difference from the decision handed down by Austin in August, when councilmembers immediately cut about $20 million, or 5%, from its police department. The city will redirect those funds for social services, such as violence prevention, housing and mental health services.
After the Austin vote, Abbott urged candidates in the November election to sign a pledge against defunding police budgets.
“Some cities in Texas want to defund and dismantle police departments in our state,” the governor said in a YouTube video. “This reckless action invites crime into our communities and threatens the safety of all Texans including our law enforcement officers and their families.”