AUSTIN, Texas — Today, House Bill 88 — known as the George Floyd Act — by state Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson (HD-141) is scheduled for a hearing in the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. Led by the Texas Democratic Legislative Black Caucus, this Democratic bill is a key step forward to combat police brutality and keep Texans safe.
Last year, Americans grieved the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Javier Ambler, and too many other Black Americans robbed of their lives by police brutality. Millions of Americans have come together to demand an end to this violence — and in an important step, earlier this month, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Now, activists, organizers, and Democrats across Texas are continuing to fight the systemic racism that pervades all elements of our society, including the criminal justice system. The Texas version of the George Floyd Act provides long-overdue, desperately needed policing reforms that will advance public safety and help ensure all Texans truly receive equal justice.
The George Floyd Act proposes the following necessary changes to our law enforcement system:
Ends qualified immunity for officers
Enacts a duty to intervene in instances of excessive force, among other duties
Narrows use of force, including a strict prohibition on chokeholds
Bars arrest for non-jailable, fine-only violations
Requires corroboration for the testimony of an undercover officer in narcotics cases, just like is required for informants
Calls for the creation of a clear, progressive disciplinary matrix independent of police unions for the investigation of officer misconduct
Texas Democratic Party Vice-Chair Dr. Carla Brailey issued the following statement:
“Too many families across our state are grieving loved ones whose lives were taken by police brutality. With the George Floyd Act, we are finally taking a step forward to change that. Thanks to the work of Rep. Senfronia Thompson and the entire Texas Legislative Black Caucus, this bill will give us the police reform we desperately need — from ending qualified immunity, to banning chokeholds.
“This is what leadership looks like. While Texas Republicans continue to fan the flames of racism and put our communities in danger — from Senator John Cornyn’s stoking of anti-Asian hate, to Congressman Chip Roy’s disgusting comments last week — Texas Democrats are fighting for a safer Texas for everyone. It’s time for criminal justice reform. It’s time to end police brutality. Equal justice under the law should mean just that: equality. The George Floyd Act will move us closer to that ideal.”