87th Texas Legislature

Lawmakers Make Final Push for Police Reform Legislation in Texas Senate

The year was filled with protests, memorials and a trial, but legislation has slowed

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Family and friends of George Floyd, along with people from around the country, will take a moment this week to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his death.

Tuesday marks one year since Floyd died after a former Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than 9 minutes.

A jury found the former officer, Derek Chauvin, guilty of murder last month. The trial for the three other officers who were there that day will begin next spring.

As the anniversary of Floyd's death approaches, some North Texas lawmakers hope to pass police reform legislation in his name but now say it appears that won't happen by May, 25, the date on which Floyd died a year ago.

"To date, no bill with the name George Floyd has moved in the Senate nor in the House," Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) said.

He and other Democratic lawmakers at the state Capitol have pushed for police reform and filed the George Floyd Act last fall anticipating bipartisan support.

Over the last several months, only pieces of the proposed bill have had some momentum.

"There has been some legislation on some measures in terms of chokeholds I think that's going to make its way through the process in terms of banning chokeholds," West said. "I think duty to render aid and duty to intervene all those three aspects will make it through the process."

There are other police reform bills that are also at risk of not making it out of this legislative session, such as "Bo's Law."

It was named after Botham Jean who was killed in his own apartment by an off-duty former Dallas police officer.

The bill has been watered down since its original conception, but it would require law enforcement to keep body cameras on during an investigation in most cases. It has passed the House but still has to pass the Senate and West said it hasn't been heard by a Senate Jurisprudence Committee yet.

"Yes I'm frustrated but as a lawyer, I'm going to keep on trying and trying and trying up until the last minute," West said.

It's an attitude activists and those who were hoping for more sweeping change in the criminal justice system can agree with, but for now, they plan to keep marching forward.

Activist groups such as Next Generation Action Network plan to hold a "week of commemoration to George Floyd and all the victims of police brutality."

It starts Monday night at South Oak Cliff High School with several speakers, then on Tuesday with a "Solidarity March & Rall"' in front of Dallas police headquarters.

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