The Texas House gave preliminary approval for policing reforms Thursday filed in response to the killing of George Floyd.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, was convicted last Tuesday and the three other officers involved are awaiting trial on separate criminal charges. State and national legislators have since pledged their commitment to plans to tackle the hot-button topic of police reform.
Democrat Rep. Senfronia Thompson is leading efforts in the House. HB 829, which won preliminary House approval Thursday, would require law enforcement agencies to adopt a strict regimen of disciplinary actions which would account for both present and past records of misconduct. HB 834 was also approved and would mandate corroboration for undercover officer testimony in drug cases.
Last week, the state Senate unanimously approved two police reform bills. Sen. Borris Miles’ (D) bill would require officers to intervene when witnessing a colleague exerting excessive force and promptly report the incident to superiors. The measure is supported by police associations and criminal justice reformers. The second bill, authored by Sen. Royce West (D) requires officers to immediately request medical aid for injured persons or provide it themselves.
A far more sweeping policing reform bill, known as the George Floyd Act, was initially announced by the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and has since stalled in both chambers. There have been subsequent efforts to advance pieces of the bill, including the reforms passed Thursday.