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Texas House Passes Botham Jean, Background Check Bills Ahead of Midnight Deadline

Any House bills that didn’t get a vote on the floor by midnight were effectively dead

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The Texas House approved several crime and criminal justice bills, including one spurred by the killing of Botham Jean, in the hours before its first major deadline Thursday at midnight.

In addition to Bo’s Law, which would create new standards for how and when police body cameras following the killing of Jean by an off-duty Dallas police officer, the House also passed bills to require air conditioning to be installed inside state-run jails and prisons and to make it a state jail felony to lie on a firearm background check form.

In the last 10 minutes before the deadline, the chamber erupted into a chaotic, almost party-like atmosphere, as onlookers in the gallery booed and cheered and lawmakers struggled to hear each other on the floor. The last bill to pass, just as the clock struck midnight, was House Bill 48, a sexual harassment overhaul bill by Driftwood Democrat Erin Zwiener.

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