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Gov. Abbott adopts rules punishing cities that 'defund police departments'

Cities can face tax penalties, loss of revenue and additional tax limitations if the Governor's Public Safety Office finds evidence of defunding.

TEXAS, USA — Texas Administrative Code rules that punish cities for defunding their police have been adopted by the Governor's Public Safety Office, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday. 

House Bill 1900 was signed into law by Gov. Abbott in June 2021.

Under the bill, cities can be subjected to tax rate limitations, lose certain tax revenues or be subject to other budget requirements if the Public Safety Office determines that a city has defunded its police department.  

Here is a breakdown of the bill:

House Bill 1900 freezes property tax revenues for cities with a population over 250,000 that defund the police. Under this law, cities that defund the police will lose their annexation powers for 10 years and any area annexed by a defunding city in the past 30 years can vote to dis-annex from the city. It also allows the State of Texas to withhold sales taxes collected by a defunding city and give it to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to pay for the cost of state resources used to protect residents of a defunded municipality.  

RELATED: Austin's new interim police chief speaks against bill punishing cities that defund police

"Texas remains a law-and-order state and we continue to make it abundantly clear that we support our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep communities safe," said Gov. Abbott.

Gov. Abbott made House Bill 1900 an emergency item during the regular session in June 2021. He also signed three other House bills in that session designed to "back the blue" and enhance penalties for cities that defund, interfere with or harm law enforcement.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott condemns Austin, O'Rourke for 'defunding police' rhetoric during Houston campaign stop

"My office’s adoption of these new rules will prevent cities from making reckless and downright dangerous decisions to defund the police, ensuring a safer future for Texans all across the Lone Star State," said Gov. Abbott.

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