Senate Bill 30 – “The Community Safety Act” moves to the Texas House

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 @ 5:58PM

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2017

Contact: Kelvin Bass

512-463-0123

Senate Bill 30 – “The Community Safety Act” moves to the Texas House

 

AUSTIN — Senate Bill 30, The Community Safety Act, passed the Texas Senate Wednesday – March 29, 2017 on a unanimous, 31-0 vote. SB30 addresses police and citizen interactions and was jointly authored by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) and State Senator John Whitmire (D-Harris), Chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. SB30 calls for the State Board of Education, through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop instructional materials for high schools students on how they, as future drivers, should respond when stopped by law enforcement. Training for recruits and veteran officers would include similar instructions on what they should expect from the driving public during a traffic stop and on proper law enforcement response; to include de-escalation techniques.

“We did not feel that we could stand idly by as these tragic incidents that erode public confidence and create distrust for law enforcement continue to occur without making an effort that could ultimately help save lives,” said Senator West. “What we found in various discussions, was that there exists the momentum to see positive change take place when it comes to law enforcement’s relationship and perception among young people and those in many minority communities.”

Under SB30, TEA will also develop course materials for driver training and defensive driving classes which would be administered to driving instructors by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR). Using this approach, the idea behind SB30 is to reach as many current and future drivers as possible, with goal of preventing the kinds of fatal incidents that have made national headlines in recent years.

“Last summer, I approached the Texas Department of Public Safety with questions about what could be done to place language in the driver training manual. I was surprised to learn that recommendations already exist on how drivers should respond to officers during a traffic stop,” said Senator West. “Through continued dialogue, we were able to provide recommendations for additional instructions with the goal of having this content added to the training manual and to training materials for DPS troopers and all Texas peace officers.”

Separately, both Senator West and Senator Whitmire began work aimed at improving the relationships between law enforcement and the community with emphasis on minority communities. Senator West held meetings with police officials and officers, city and county officials and advocacy groups. Senator Whitmire took testimony from stakeholders and the general public during an October 4 hearing. As the Legislative Session neared, they were encouraged to combine forces by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The result is a joint bill that has widespread support to this point from stakeholders, legislators and state leaders. SB30 now awaits committee assignment in the Texas House.

For more information, please contact Kelvin Bass at 512-463-0123.

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