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HomeNewsHarris County leaders accused of violating state defunding police law, report says

Harris County leaders accused of violating state defunding police law, report says

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HOUSTON – Texas officials have accused the state’s most populous county of defunding some of its law enforcement agencies in violation of a new law that prevents such funding cuts.

In a letter sent on Monday, Texas Comptroller Glen Hegar alleged leaders in Harris County, where Houston is located, reduced funding for the offices of its constables in the current fiscal year and would again reduce funding next year.

Harris County officials pushed back against the claims they were defunding law enforcement, saying they have actually increased funding for law enforcement, proposing a budget for the next fiscal year that would allocate $1.4 billion for justice and safety, which is 75% of the county’s budget and the most ever allocated by the county for public safety.

Hegar accused the county of ending a policy that would have let the constables’ offices automatically rollover unspent departmental funds from one fiscal year to the next, resulting in a loss of more than $3 million. He also accused the county of reducing funding for the constables by up to $12 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Constables and their deputies are licensed peace officers who have the same powers as regular police officers but also have the added responsibility of civil law enforcement.

“Texans depend on law enforcement agencies every day and consistent budgetary support for these agencies is more important than ever,” Hegar wrote in his letter.

Last year, the Texas Legislature passed several bills aimed at stopping cities from defunding the police. The push to pass the new laws by state Republicans came after Austin’s city council in August 2020 shifted police funding to social services following moves of other cities in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Under the new law, any reduction of law enforcement budgets requires voter approval. If voter approval is not sought and a county proceeds with such a budget reduction, a county’s property tax revenue — the main funding source for local government services including schools, roads and law enforcement — will be frozen.

Under the new law, any reduction of law enforcement budgets requires voter approval. If voter approval is not sought and a county proceeds with such a budget reduction, a county’s property tax revenue — the main funding source for local government services including schools, roads and law enforcement — will be frozen.

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Sourabh Verma franklin
Sourabh Verma,From Franklin Tn - Sub-editor in Asian News International(ANI) I am a detailed-driven journalist with 3+ years of experience in news writing and copy-editing, I can file quick, compelling and error-free stories as they break. I have sound knowledge of national and international issues and have covered stories across beats, including politics, parliament, legal and crime like drugs and Human Trafficking at Asian News International (ANI), where I currently work. Some of these include extensive coverage of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, several state Assembly elections, Parliament sessions, COVID-19 pandemic and other stories of national importance. A typical working day involves copy-editing dozens of drafts, managing junior sub-editors in shifts and keeping an eye on developing stories. This added responsibility followed a couple of years of filing stories based on press briefings, bytes and inputs from reporters on the ground.
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