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Relating to the control and funding of law enforcement and public safety services in certain political subdivisions.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
However, there could be an indeterminate increase to state revenue if an applicable municipality is determined to have adopted a budget that reduces the appropriation to the police department.
HB 1950 create a designation for a defunding municipality which, based on certain criteria is determined to have improperly defunded its police department.
HB 1950 would permit the Governor to create a public safety zone in an area of a qualified municipality that the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's office designates as a defunding municipality. This provision is bracketed to the City of Austin.
The Governor would be able to appoint a board of directors over each public safety zone. Qualifications for eligibility to be a board member are laid out in the bill. The directors of each zone would be responsible for directing all law enforcement duties in the zone, including the enforcement of state laws, prevention of crime, and hiring of licensed peace officers. Zones would be permitted to contract with any political subdivision or private company to assist in carrying out their law enforcement duties.
HB 1950 would require the Governor, when creating a public safety zone, to order the Comptroller to set aside the municipality’s share of tax revenue into a special fund to finance the zone. When the Governor’s office determines that a defunding municipality has reversed their defunding of law enforcement, the Governor would be able to dissolve the public safety zone.
Texas Action opposes HB 1950 because it would expand the unilateral authority of the governor to take over law enforcement of the City of Austin in the event the city is designated a defunding municipality. The powers this legislation would give the governor are simply greater than any governor should have. While drastic cutbacks on law enforcement spending require oversight, HB 1950 would empower the state too significantly by allowing a governor-appointed board of directors to run Austin's law enforcement with little accountability