Legislative Achievements Archives
INTERIM HEARING: House B&I Hearing—SB 22
CLEAT Executive Director, Charley Wilkison, testified in the House Committee on Business and Industry today, regarding the implementation of SB 22 (Covid presumptive for first responders). Wilkison informed the committee of how this bill is playing out in the real world and it’s not a pretty picture. Despite the intention of the committee and the legislature as a whole, many of our law enforcement families continue to suffer. Widows of fallen officers testified, yet again, on their struggles with the current system. They explained how their fallen officer passed in 2020 and they have yet to see their claims approved. Just last week, one widow was served at her front door with a lawsuit against her and her deceased spouse on a workers’ compensation claim where the Judge ruled in her favor. Bexar County, where her husband served for decades as an officer, is now suing him and he is deceased. CLEAT stays in the fight all the way through.
Take a look at the figures from our presentation to the committee here:
COVID-19 PRESUMPTION (SB 22)
Our biggest issue during this session was COVID-19 and enacting a line of duty presumption for those who had contracted this terrible disease. Over 100 peace officers and corrections officers have died due to COVID, and it is clear that these officers contracted this disease at work. But workers’ compensation insurance companies have consistently denied claims and left survivors without benefits.
When COVID-19 hit Texas, officers were unable to follow the “stay at home” orders issued by the governor and local officials. Officers had to continue reporting to work, responding to calls, and safeguarding those confined in county jails and prisons. It soon became evident that there was not enough PPE for the officers in Texas. Most of the PPE was diverted to healthcare workers. CLEAT realized the problem and spent close to $500,000 from our emergency/disaster funds to purchase PPE and personally deliver it to officers at over 300 agencies across Texas.
In March of 2020, CLEAT was the first to call on Governor Abbott to issue an executive order declaring a presumption for officers contracting COVID and provide that it was a line of duty illness. That order never came, and the only option was to seek relief from the legislature this session by passing a presumption bill.
Without a presumption, employees have to prove they contracted the disease at work which is very hard to do. With a presumption in place, the burden then shifts to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Presumption ensures that workers’ compensation insurance carriers would have to prove the employee did not contract the disease at work.
During the interim, CLEAT contacted many legislators and obtained bi-partisan support for a COVID presumption bill. Lawmakers generated a number of letters to Governor Abbott at CLEAT’s request about the need for the COVID presumption. When the session began, at least five bills were filed in the Texas House and two in the Texas Senate. It was clear upfront that the cities, counties, and worker’s compensation insurance companies were going to work very hard to defeat a COVID presumption bill, or at the very least water it down so that the presumption would be very hard to claim. We were diligent throughout the process to protect the families who have suffered and ensure the best bill possible would pass.
SB 22 by Senator Drew Springer (R) and HB 541 by Representative Jared Patterson (R) began to make their way through the process. Both bills were very different and, as drafted, had many provisions that needed apparent fixes. The bills were changed a number of times throughout the process. CLEAT was involved every step of the way. We were able to fix problems with language at every turn and were vocal about all of our concerns. When the bill was hammered out in a conference committee, those concerns were addressed. And in the final weekend of the session, both houses adopted the conference committee report and sent the bill to the governor.
A number of the issues that we worked to address were provisions:
- to ensure that all detention officers were covered,
- that those who had not already filed a claim would not be hampered by expired deadlines and could file a claim after the law takes effect,
- that persons who had died from COVID but had not taken an FDA-approved test before passing away could still be covered based on the physician’s diagnosis, and
- ensuring that a number of other roadblocks to the presumption were removed from the bill.
DEFUNDING (HB 1900/SB 23)
After the City of Austin made substantial shifts to police funding last year, preventing defunding became a top priority for the Texas Legislature. A number of bills were filed addressing this issue, and CLEAT testified in support of every one of them, and we worked to ensure a number of concerns were addressed.
Of the bills introduced, two were passed. SB 23 by Senator Joan Huffman (R) and Representative Tom Oliverson (R) dealt with defunding by large counties. HB 1900 by Rep. Craig Goldman (R) and Senator Huffman dealt with defunding by large cities.
One issue that concerned us was pension funding. The actuarial soundness of defined benefit pension plans is affected when staffing is substantially reduced. With that in mind, we were able to draft an amendment added to HB 1900 by Representative Abel Herrero (D) on the House floor. The amendment will ensure substantial staffing cuts do not negatively impact defined benefit pension plans. The amendment was included in the bill as it finally passed.
RETIREE QUALIFICATION (SB 198)
One of the issues we have heard from retirees is that even though the law allows retirees to carry their handguns under LEOSA, there is no requirement that departments allow them to qualify annually to obtain their firearms proficiency certificate. If a retired officer has a certificate, then their last department has to issue them LEOSA credentials.
CLEAT worked on behalf of our retiree members to fix this with the passage of SB 198 by Senator Jane Nelson (R) and Representative James White (R). This bill would allow a retiree unable to qualify through their former department to qualify and obtain a firearms proficiency certificate through a private firearms instructor. Once the certificate is obtained, the retiree’s agency would have to provide LEOSA credentials.
VEHICLE E-TAG BILL (HB 3927)
Over one million fraudulent temporary vehicle tags have been printed from the Texas E-Tag system (administered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, DMV) by criminals who are not in the business of selling motor vehicles.
CLEAT was part of a working group with the Texas DMV during the past year. It became abundantly clear that our law enforcement agencies tasked with exposing the compromised e-tag system and holding criminals accountable were not going to be assisted by state agencies charged with ensuring these systems are running efficiently.
The current system contains many loopholes and allows anyone to pose as a car dealer and access the e-tag printing system. The printing of these tags has been tracked back to vehicles involved in an array of serious crimes such as homicide, robbery, human trafficking, narcotics, and much more. Most concerning is the massive officer safety issue this causes as the fraudulent tags do not appear fraudulent to an officer in the patrol car running the tag through TLETTS. Unfortunately, we know of at least one officer who has died in the line of duty where the suspect vehicle was bearing a fraudulent e-tag. It was clear to CLEAT and a number of our members that this needed to be fixed.
The task would not be an easy one as those who represent car dealers are a well-financed lobby in Austin. Several bills were filed to address a number of DMV issues, and CLEAT began to battle its way through the Texas Legislature to ensure that language addressing the e-tag issue was included.
HB 3927 by Representative Cole Hefner agreed to file the bill that became the “vehicle” to address our concerns. In the end, the bill crossed the finish line and is on the way to the governor.
The bill will allow the Texas DMV to terminate access to the e-tag system for any “dealer” who appears suspicious in the system as it pertains to the number of tags they are printing. As with many of our bills, there is still work to be done, and CLEAT will continue to see that the issues are worked through, the DMV interprets the legislation appropriately, and that the officer’s safety aspect is taken care of.
As you can imagine, after a number of high-profile incidents involving deaths, including George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Botham Jean, and even the revival of Sandra Bland, literally a hundred bills were filed calling for police reform. We are happy to report that most of these died in committee.
A few issues had the life of “Lazarus” and were revived through amendments to other bills. We had to scramble to either strip off language, change language, or outright kill these bills at the very last minute.
Most importantly, we successfully killed all of the bills that sought to abolish or limit qualified immunity.
Bills to limit arrests for Class C offenses, limit the use of no-knock warrants, limit or abolish collective bargaining or meet & confer, limit civil service appeals or require a disciplinary matrix for each department, and limit or change resisting arrest all failed this session.
We had to operate from the standpoint of being reasonable when addressing these issues. In the end, a few bills did pass, but only after complicated negotiations that resulted in criminal penalties being stripped from the bill or language being added that preserved the “objectively reasonable” standard of Graham v. Connor.
With these changes, we could support policy statement bills that mirrored what is already in place for most Texas law enforcement agencies.
SB 24 by Senator Joan Huffman (R) & Representative Greg Bonnen (R)
Amends a number of statutes to strengthen background investigations and hiring procedures for peace officers. Would allow prospective employers to obtain employment records from previous agencies electronically. A CLEAT amendment was added to protect the confidentiality of those records.
SB 69 by Senator Borris Miles (D) & Representative James White (R)
Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) to provide a duty to intervene to stop or prevent another peace officer from using force against a person if the amount of force exceeds that which is reasonable under the circumstances (Graham standard) and the officer knows or should know that the force is not required to apprehend the person suspected of committing an offense. The bill also amends the CCP to provide that a peace officer may not intentionally use a chokehold, carotid artery hold, or similar neck restraint in searching or arresting a person unless the restraint is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death of the officer or another person.
SB 2212 by Senator Royce West (D) & Representative Senfronia Thompson (D)
Amends CCP to impose a duty to render aid when a peace officer encounters an injured person in the line of duty. Requires officer to call EMS and provide first aid or treatment to the person to the extent of the officer’s skill and training. Provides an exception if making the request or providing treatment would expose the officer or another person to risk of bodily injury or if the officer is injured and physically unable to make the request or provide treatment.
HB 929 by Representative Carl Sherman (D) & Senator Royce West (D)
Amends body camera procedures to require policy on collection of body cameras as evidence and to require a peace officer equipped with a body-worn camera and actively participating in an investigation to keep the camera activated for the entirety of the officer’s active participation in the investigation unless the camera has been deactivated in compliance with the department’s policy. CLEAT opposed more stringent provisions in this bill that were removed.
Every ten years, state agencies are subject to a review called “Sunset.” Legislation has to pass to renew the agency for another ten years. During the year before the legislative session, the Texas Sunset Commission conducts a review that includes the participation of the stakeholders. TCOLE was up for sunset in 2021. CLEAT actively participated in this process throughout 2020 and met for hours with Sunset staff about TCOLE. In the end, most of our recommendations were rejected. Instead, the Sunset Commission saw sunset as a way to enact major reform, including granting TCOLE expanded authority to conduct independent investigations of law enforcement misconduct, subpoena officers during these investigations, and suspend a license without a hearing among other things. CLEAT was opposed to these changes from the very beginning.
When the TCOLE Sunset bill was filed (HB 1550), CLEAT met with the bill author, Representative John Cyrier, and expressed concerns. Our concerns about HB 1550 were again rejected out of hand. No changes were made to the bill when it was considered by the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. CLEAT was the ONLY organization to stand up and openly testify against the bill. TMPA/FOP testified “On” the bill and, in their remarks, said that “they supported the direction the bill was going.” The hearing is online.
We communicated our concerns to many members of the legislature, and when the bill was scheduled for floor debate, we publicly worked against it. We were the only organization to put out a press release and social media posts against the bill. Ultimately, the bill did not have the support to pass, and the bill author withdrew it from consideration. An informational article about this fight can be found here.
When another sunset bill, SB 713 by Representative Dawn Buckingham (R), came to the House floor, Representative Cyrier amended the bill with complaint language that was opposed by CLEAT. SB 713 ultimately became the bill to renew TCOLE for another two years. When the final version of the bill was drafted, we were successful in removing the complaint language, and the only change was the TCOLE renewal date of 2023.
This issue will be back during the interim, and we will see another Sunset bill in the 2023 legislative session.
SB 1582 by Senator Eddie Lucio and Rep. John Wray
Amends Chapter 607, Government Code, to provide that peace officers who suffer a heart attack or stroke resulting in disability or death are presumed to have suffered the disability or death during the course and scope of employment. The law requires that officers undergo medical screening for cardiovascular disease to be covered.
SB 2551 by Senator Chuy Hinojosa and Rep. Dustin Burrows
Provides that sovereign immunity no longer applies to sanctions and administrative penalties assessed against cities and counties for violation of workers’ compensation rules. And it would allow an employee to recover attorney’s fees from a public employer who is involved in a lawsuit over workers’ compensation coverage or benefits.
HB766 by Rep. Dan Huberty and Senator Kirk Watson
Amended the Education Code to provide officers who are permanently disabled in the line of duty are entitled to a mandatory tuition exemption from state colleges and universities in order to learn a new profession.
HB 872 by Rep. Cole Hefner and Senator Pete Flores
The bill amended Chapter 615, Government Code, relating to line of duty death benefits. Previously, the law provided a line of duty death annuity payment to families of peace officers and state correctional officers who die in the line of duty who were not eligible for an annuity payment from their pension plan. The bill amended the law to also provide this benefit to county jailers or detention officers. The bill also amended the law to impose a duty on law enforcement agencies to file claims regarding state line of duty deaths with the Employee Retirement System of Texas and allows the Attorney General to sue to enforce this provision.
HB 3635 by Rep. John Turner and Senator Bryan Hughes.
The bill amended Chapter 615, Government Code, to provide automatic increases in line of duty death benefits. Instead of a fixed rate of $500,000, the death benefit amount is now required to be adjusted annually based on the consumer price index for Urban Consumers. When the CPI goes up, the benefit would be increased by the same percentage.
HCR19 by Rep. Abel Hernandez and Senator Joan Huffman.
This concurrent resolution sent a message to the U.S. Congress urging them to repeal the GPO and WEP provisions in social security that prevent retirees from receiving earned social security benefits when they participate in a separate defined benefit plan.
HB2137 (Rep. Burns / Senator Pete Flores)
Amended the Government Code to waive the fee for honorably retired peace officers to obtain an LTC License to Carry). The bill also waives the training requirements and firearm proficiency requirements if the officer has demonstrated proficiency under Section 1701.357, Occupations Code (TCOLE firearms proficiency requirement).
H.B. 451 (Moody / Creighton)
Relating to waiver of immunity in certain employment discrimination actions in connection with a workers’ compensation claim. Waives sovereign immunity and would allow a first responder to sue in cases where a first responder is fired, suspended, or had adverse employment action taken against them based on first responder filing a workers’ compensation claim.
H.B. 873 (Pickett / Hughes)
Relating to prohibiting certain establishments serving the public from restricting a peace officer or special investigator from carrying a weapon on the premises. Clarifies that peace officers can carry their weapons on or off duty into establishments serving the public, such as sports venues, amusement parks, etc. regardless if there is screening upon entrance.
H.B. 1983 (Wray / Whitmire)
Relating to the eligibility of a firefighter or a peace officer for workers’ compensation benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder. Extends workers’ compensation coverage to first responders diagnosed with PTSD that stems from line of duty incidents. Would allow a firefighter or peace officer to be treated for job-related PTSD under workers’ compensation in the same manner as any other work-related injury.
H.B. 3237 (Moody / Whitmire)
Relating to when search warrant affidavits become public information. Fixed flawed language in the law to when search warrant affidavits become public information and that allowed information to become public before the warrant was served. Under H.B. 3237, sworn affidavits are now public information only after the search warrant has been executed.
H.B. 3391 (Geren / Birdwell)
Relating to the creation of a specialty court for certain public safety employees who commit a criminal offense. H.B. 3391 mirrors the Veterans Special Court program. Allows prosecutors the option of allowing cases involving first responders to be considered by a special court for criminal-related offenses that are a consequence of job-related PTSD.
H.B. 3647 (Dale / Watson)
Relating to the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument. H.B. 3647 created a formal nomination process for TCOLE to approve line of duty deaths for inclusion on the Memorial Monument wall. The bill also provided a presumption that if ERS benefits are awarded, then the officer is presumed to have been killed in the line of duty. H.B. 3647 also creates a committee that will oversee and plan the Peace Officer Memorial set of events to honor those that have been killed in the line of duty.
H.B. 3784 (Holland / Van Taylor)
Relating to persons approved by the Department of Public Safety to offer an online course for the classroom portion of handgun proficiency instruction. This bill was one of two bills amended at CLEAT’s request to include a fix for officers to bypass background checks when purchasing a firearm by making it easier for the officer to obtain a state-issued handgun license. The amendment waives for peace officers the requirement to take the handgun license course or demonstrate handgun proficiency in order to obtain a license. The amendment also waives a license fee for county jailers and state correctional officers and allows them to obtain a license at no charge. (<em>See also </em>S.B. 16).
S.B. 16 (Nichols / King, Phil)
Relating to the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license to carry a handgun. This bill was one of two bills amended at CLEAT’s request to include a fix for officers to bypass background checks when purchasing a firearm by making it easier for the officer to obtain a state-issued handgun license. The amendment waives, for peace officers, the fee for the license and allows officers to obtain a license at no charge. (<em>See also </em>H.B. 3784).
S.B. 1559 (Taylor, Larry / Bonnen, Greg)
Relating to a fee exemption for guardianship proceedings of certain military service members and certain law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders. Exempts law enforcement officers who are incapacitated as a result of an injury sustained in the line of duty from any fee required under the Estates Code for an application for a guardianship proceeding or a fee for any service rendered by the court in administrating the guardianship proceeding.
HB 1278 (Hughes / Lucio)
Relating to the amount of financial assistance paid to the survivors of certain law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other public employees killed in the line of duty. Raises the death benefit for surviving families from $250,000 to $500,000 and doubles the monthly income for surviving children. The death benefit has not been raised since 2001 and the monthly income for children has not been raised since 1975.
HB 2604 (Dale / Hinojosa)
Relating to a concealed handgun license application that is submitted by a peace officer or a member of the state military forces. Officers can’t purchase a weapon without going through a federal background check unless they have a CHL. This bill allows a peace officer to obtain a CHL simply by submitting a current copy of the officer’s license and evidence of employment to DPS, instead of having to go through one’s Department and receive a statement from the department head.
SB 923 (Watson / Zedler)
Relating to the prosecution of the offense of obstruction or retaliation. Protects the personal information of peace officers and other public servants from being released. Creates an offense for posting this information online.
HB 3212 (King/ Menendez)
Relating to peace officer identification cards for certain retired peace officers. Addresses a discrepancy between state and federal law regarding the carrying of concealed firearms by qualified retired law enforcement officers.
HB 326 (Wu/ Hall)
Relating to sworn affidavits provided to support the issuance of a search warrant. Would allow a magistrate to accept sworn statements by telephone or other electronic devices in support of a search warrant.
HB 593 (Collier/ Whitmire)
Relating to animal encounter training for peace officers. Mandatory TCOLE canine training bill for law enforcement.
HB 3212 (King/ Menendez)
Relating to peace officer identification cards for certain retired peace officers. Allows officers who have retired after 20 years of service who then go to work elsewhere can return to the department they retired from and obtain their retired credentials from that department after they are no longer employed in law enforcement.
HB 326 (Wu/ Hall)
Relating to sworn affidavits provided to support the issuance of a search warrant. Would allow a magistrate to accept a probable cause affidavit by telephone or other electronic devices in support of a search warrant and allow the officer to obtain the warrant electronically instead of having to obtain the warrant in person.
HB 593 (Collier/ Whitmire)
Relating to canine encounter training for peace officers. Requires 4 hours of TCOLE-approved mandatory training on canine encounters for new officers hired after January 2016 and any officer who seeks an intermediate or advanced certificate.
HB 503 (Hernandez/ West)
Relating to the use of proceeds from criminal asset forfeiture to provide college scholarships to children of peace officers killed in the line of duty. Would help assist children who wish to attend a private university or a university located outside of Texas.
HB 1287 (Hilderbran/Estes)
Relating to the contents of an application by certain persons for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of the person’s residence homestead.
HB 1632 (Fletcher/Paxton)
Provides that an officer’s date of birth is included in the list of confidential information protected under the Public Information Act (Open Records).
HB 3559 (Pickett/Eltife)
Protects the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Monument by transferring the maintenance of the monument to the State Preservation Board. Allows money to be raised for the monument and requires any entity that raises money for the monument to send the money to the Preservation Board.
HB 3739 (Burnam/Garcia)
Provides that a municipality may not prohibit an employee from becoming a candidate for public office. Further provides that a municipality may not take disciplinary action against an employee solely because the employee became a candidate for public office.
SB 965 (Williams/Bohac)
Relating to correcting F5 termination reports submitted to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Though opposed by CLEAT as originally filed, CLEAT worked with the authors of the bill to ensure that officers’ rights were protected when they challenged a termination report submitted to TCOLE by an agency head. Language was added at CLEAT’s request to ensure that if an officer successfully challenged a report and it was ordered corrected, then only the corrected report remained on file with the agency that submitted it.
HB 343 (Fletcher/Huffman)
An on-duty accident involving a peace officer may not be included on the officer’s driver’s license record if the accident resulted in damages to property less than $1,000 even if the officer was at fault. Also provided that, regardless of the damage amount, an accident that is not the officer’s fault may not be included on the officer’s driver’s license record.
HB 554 (Donna Howard/Watson)
Allows Austin EMS to petition the voters for an election to be included under Chapter 143, Local Government Code, the Municipal Civil Service Act.
HB 2605 (Larry Taylor/Huffman)
First responders who are seriously injured in the line of duty are entitled to expedited claims for medical benefits, including all healthcare required to cure or relieve the effects of a compensable injury.
SB 423 (Lucio/Mendez)
Surviving families of officers killed in the line of duty could apply for insurance coverage if they were eligible for coverage at the time of death, even if they were not on the plan at the time. The bill also provided another opportunity for survivors to re-apply for coverage, until September 1, 2012. The bill also states that the department must file the death benefit claim.
SB 553 (Hegar/Larry Taylor)
Exempts the family of an officer killed in the line of duty from having to pay probate fees associated with probating the will and estate of the officer.
SB 844 (Dan Patrick/Hunter)
Expanded the “escape” offense to include an escape that occurs while a person is lawfully detained, or escapes from “law enforcement facilities” that are not considered correctional facilities.
SB 1010 (Huffman/Workman)
Requires prosecutors to notify a crime victim or surviving family member of a victim if they intend to offer a plea bargain to the defendant in a criminal case.
SB 1600 (Whitmire/Phil King)
Peace officers who are employed by a private security company and perform extra employment for that company do not have to be licensed as security officers under the Private Security Act.
SB 1667 (Duncan/Truitt)
Requires the Teachers Retirement System to collect and maintain records identifying which members of the system are peace officers.
HB 221 (Menendez/Whitmire)
Enhanced penalty for evading arrest from Class B to a Class A misdemeanor and to a state jail felony if the offender has a previous conviction for evading.
HB 1177 (Guillen/Zaffirini)
Expanded the eligibility for legislative leave to municipalities with a population of 50,000 or more and counties with a population of 190,000 or more. (Previously 200,000/500,000).
HB 1720 (Bohac/Deull)
Prohibited a political subdivision from using public funds for political advertising or communications that contain false information relating to a ballot measure.
HB 1721 (Bohac/Deull)
Expanded penal code statute that prohibits a person from taking or attempting to take a weapon from a peace officer to include detention officers, county jailers, and other employees of a correctional facility.
HB 1831 (Corte/Carona)
Clarified definition of “emergency vehicle” to include privately owned vehicles that are authorized for use as an emergency vehicle.
HB 1960 (Maldonado/Lucio)
Clarified that municipal and county peace officers are entitled to be paid for off-duty court appearances and required appearances in other administrative proceedings.
HB 2168 (Chavez/Watson)
Clarified that in an appeal of discipline imposed by a sheriff, the sheriff’s department civil service commission may not enhance or increase punishment.
HB 2347 (Thibaut/Whitmire)
Provided a limited exemption from tuition and fees for peace officers enrolled in criminal justice and law enforcement classes at an institution of higher education.
HB 2580 (Frost/Deull)
Created a peace officer employment opportunity website administered by the Texas Workforce Commission.
SB 872 (Lucio/Menendez)
Clarified that the survivors of peace officers and detention officers killed in the line are entitled to purchase health insurance from the officer’s employer at the same rate as active employees and provided a limited opportunity to reapply for coverage.
SB 926 (Huffman/Fletcher)
Clarified that officers operating authorized emergency vehicles are exempt from red-light camera citations.
SB 1273 (Carona/Fletcher)
Created an offense for interfering or disrupting public safety radio communications.
HB 2283 (Chavez/Watson)
Clarified that deputy sheriffs covered by civil service can’t be removed by a newly elected sheriff without just cause.
SB 457 (Watson/Menendez)
Clarified that children of peace officers killed in the line of duty are eligible for education benefits, even if they are not claimed as dependents on a federal tax return.
SB 772 (Van de Putte/Menendez)
Established meet and confer rights for park police and airport police in San Antonio and Austin.
HB 155 (Pickett/Lucio)
Protects retirees when the retirement system makes a mistake in the payment of benefits. Establish rules for reporting mistakes and the repayment of overpayments.
HB 2445 (Driver/Williams)
Protects the rights of officers who are subject to TCLEOSE license suspension after being dishonorably discharged. Provides a hearing for officers who were discharged from “at-will” departments.
SB 1104 (Watson/Naishtat)
Established meet and confer rights for Austin EMS.
HCR 236 (Talton/Whitmire)
Honoring fallen police officers on Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and during National Police Week and requiring that state flags be displayed at half-staff on May 15 of each year.
HB 304 (Talton/Deuell)
Established meet and confer rights for police and fire in all municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more, excluding Dallas.
HB 582 (Reyna/Whitmire)
Made it unlawful to take or attempt to take a stun gun (Taser) from a peace officer.
HB 639 (Bailey/Barrientos)
Statewide due process – Required complaints to be investigated and officers may only be fired if there is evidence to prove the allegation of misconduct. Also expanded the law to apply to all peace officers, county jailers, and detention officers.
HB 3409 (Rose/Harris)
Civil service law applies to municipalities that reach 10,000 population when certified by the state demographer instead of having to wait until the federal census every 10 years.
SB 1050 (Van de Putte/Bailey)
Clarified that in a municipality covered by civil service, a promotional bypass can be appealed to an arbitrator.
HB 162 (McCall/Carona)
Expanded protections afforded peace officers when exposed to contagious diseases to detention officers and county jailers.
HB 1095 (Menendez/Deuell)
New offense for a person to harass, alarm, or assault a public servant by causing bodily fluids or waste to contact the public servant. Requires a court to order testing of a person charged with this offense and requires the person, if convicted, to make restitution for testing and/or treatment.
HB 1262 (Farabee/Seliger)
Expanded DPS threat database to include detention officers.
HB 1438 (Talton/Whitmire)
Gives in-service credit during the 24-month training cycle to peace officers who are on active duty with the military for 12 months. Also requires a peace officer to be notified that they are not in compliance with required in-service training before their license may be suspended.
HB 1913 (Olivo/Barrientos)
Allowed a municipality that only has a paid police department to adopt civil service instead of the requirement that the city has both a paid police department and paid fire department.
HB 1928 (Joe Moreno/Gallegos)
Included detention officers and county jailers in the statute that allows reimbursement of medical expenses when exposed to contagious diseases.
HB 2769 (Talton/Whitmire)
Clarified that a State flag may be presented to the survivor of a deceased former peace officer only if the peace officer is honorably retired.
HB 2823 (Rose/Madla)
Clarified that payments made to disabled peace officers from the Crime Victims Compensation fund may be monthly instead of annually.
SB 716 (Gallegos/Talton)
Required municipalities to make payroll deductions for association or union dues.
SB 863 (Van de Putte/Corte)
Allowed an officer who is on active military duty to take promotional examinations in civil service municipalities.
SB 1673 (Barrientos/Olivo)
Allowed for the creation of a county civil service system in sheriff’s departments in counties that have a population of more than 200,000 but less than 500,000.
HB 1007 (Ritter/Lucio)
Eligibility for low-interest home loan program expanded to include any peace officer, county jailer, or corrections officer, not just municipal officers.
HB 292 (Reyna/Zaffirini)
Expanded ability to require a blood or breath specimen from a suspected drunk driver to cases where the person caused serious bodily injury, not just death.
HB 831 (Reyna/Deuell)
Created offense of pointing a laser pointer at a public safety officer.
HB 1087 (Olivo/Gallegos)
Allowed a county jailer to be paid longevity pay in counties with a population of 150,000 or more.
HB 1247 (Ritter/Madla)
Created the police officer and firefighter home loan program.
SB 674 (Estes/Rose)
Provided compensatory time to all state peace officers required to work a holiday.
SB 804 (Zaffirini/Yvonne Davis)
Required reasonable accommodation to be made to DPS officers who become pregnant.
SB 841 (Whitmire/Noriega)
Expanded exception for extra job coordinators under the Private Security Act to include all peace officers, not just municipal officers.
HB 776 (Haggerty/Staples)
Created peace officer threat database to be maintained by DPS.
HB 1600 (Jones/Van de Putte)
Increased penalty for taking a weapon from an officer to a third-degree felony.
HB 2260 (Danburg/Zaffirini)
Required that reasonable accommodation be made to municipal and county peace officers who become pregnant.
HB 2384 (Carter/Moncrief)
Amended civil service to allow Fort Worth to adopt meet and confer by election.
HB 3603 (Capelo/Bernsen)
Clarified that a person covered by civil service who is disabled in the line of duty may retire on pension if the municipality fails to extend salary continuation leave.
SB 215 (Bernsen/Keel)
Increased punishment for evading arrest in a vehicle from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony.
SB 379 (Gallegos/Farrar)
Established meet and confer rights for Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority police officers.
SB 523 (Armbrister/Kuempel)
Relating to participation and credit in, contributions to, and benefits and administration of the County and District Retirement System. (CLEAT amendment added 20-year retirement option)
SB 609 (Bernsen/Ritter)
Provided compensatory time to DPS officers required to work holidays.
SB 850 (Barrientos/Tillery)
Provided up to $200,000 out of the Crime Victims Compensation Fund to supplement the salary of disabled peace officers whose insurance or worker’s compensation payments are less than the salary they received before they were disabled.
HB 877 (Flores/Barrientos)
Increased line of duty death (LODD) benefit from $50,000 to $250,000. Provided education benefits to surviving spouse, not just children. Provided housing and cost of textbooks while attending an institution of higher education, not just tuition. Also provided a monthly payment to a surviving spouse if the officer didn’t qualify for a pension under the officer’s employee pension system at the time of death.
HB 1078 (Solis/Madla)
Amended civil service to provide for the restoration of credit in the pension system and restoration of sick and vacation leave if a suspension is overturned on appeal.
Note: A number of bills were vetoed this session.
HB 640 (Kamel/Cain)
Exempted disabled peace officers from having to pay tuition and fees while attending an institution of higher education.
HB 806 (Greenberg/Wentworth)
Amended offense of obstruction and retaliation (36.06 Penal Code) to provide that the offense applies regardless of the off-duty status of a public servant. Douglas S. Goeble and Gil Epstein Act.
HB 2335 (Smith/Harris)
Lowered population bracket to allow the creation of crime control districts in counties with a population of 5,000 or more instead of one million. Also allows the governing body of the political subdivision to determine the number of years that the CCD will exist before a new election must be held.
SB 329 (Brown/McReynolds)
Expanded false reports to peace officer statute to include false reports made to other law enforcement employees, not just peace officers.
SB 527 (Patterson/Talton)
Prohibited employment discrimination against a peace officer for refusing to take a polygraph examination during an internal investigation.
SB 629 (Lucio/Clark)
Required a civil service municipality to expunge records related to disciplinary action if the action is overturned on appeal.
HB 1585 (Hirschi/Gallegos)
Required political subdivisions to provide motor vehicle liability insurance for peace officers employed by the subdivision.
HB 1856 (Telford/Armbrister)
Reauthorization of TCLEOSE until September 1, 2009 (Sunset Act). Grants licensee a hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings in any case where TCLEOSE proposes to revoke or suspend a license. Mandates training to peace officers on employment issues that affect peace officers, including training on issues related to civil service, compensation, overtime, personnel files, work-related injuries, management-employee relations, complaints and investigation of employee misconduct, and appeal of disciplinary actions.
SB 1286 (Gallegos/Talton)
Merged park police, city marshals, and airport police in Houston into the police department and reclassified these officers as Houston police officers.
SB 1581 (Carona/Hartnett)
Imposed stringent rules and requirements on organizations that solicit funds on behalf of law enforcement organizations.
SB 1455 (Lucio/Ron Lewis)
Lowered population bracket of counties from 30,000 to 25,000 for sheriff’s department employees to petition for a pay referendum.
HB 752 (Rhodes/Armbrister)
Established minimum requirements to take law enforcement training courses and prohibited a person from taking the training if they are not eligible to be a peace officer.
SB 520 (Montford/Telford)
Allowed municipalities in TMRS to adopt a 20-year retirement option for employees.
SB 281 (Brown/Nixon)
Increased penalties for evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. Increased penalties to a third or second-degree felony if another person suffers serious bodily injury or death as a result of the person fleeing.
HB 2614 (Oakley/Luna)
Expanded jurisdiction of peace officers statewide for offenses other than traffic offenses.
SB 863 (Barrientos/Combs)
Established meet and confer rights to Austin police and fire.
Note: A number of bills were vetoed this session.
HB 712 (Blackwood/Lucio)
Required registration of public safety organizations that engage in telephone solicitation.
SB 97 (Lucio/Blackwood)
Expanded death benefits to peace officers appointed under other laws, not just Article 2.12 CCP. Provided for the purchase of continued health insurance coverage by the survivors of peace officers killed in the line of duty.
SB 404 (Truan/Martin)
Allowed retirees in municipalities with a population of 25,000 or more and counties with a population of 75,000 or more to purchase continued health insurance coverage upon retirement.
HB 504 (Repp/Sibley)
Created offense of resisting transportation under the resisting arrest statute.
SB 64 (Green/Blackwood)
Created offense of failure to identify by a person who is lawfully detained.
SB 406 (Barrientos/Granoff)
Allowed for association leaders to take legislative leave from municipalities with a population of 200,000 or more or counties with a population of 500,000 or more.
SB 106 (Barrientos/Linebarger)
Lowered population bracket for sheriff’s department civil service from 950,000 to 500,000.
HB 427 (Barton/Brooks)
Designated airport police officers as peace officers.
HB 729 (Lewis/Glasgow)
Prohibited a peace officer from being disciplined for not issuing a set number of traffic tickets (ticket quotas).
HB 731 (Blackwood/Lyon)
Created offense of taking or attempting to take a weapon from a peace officer.
SB 892 (Brown/Blackwood)
Established a committee for the purpose of funding, designing, and constructing a memorial for peace officers on the grounds of the Capitol.
SB 916 (Tejeda/Morales)
Expanded penalties for evading arrest in cases where an officer is injured or dies during the course of the offense. Calderon Bill after San Antonio Patricia Calderon.
Note: A number of bills were vetoed this session.
HB 1368 (Valigura)
Created personnel file rules for police officers in civil service municipalities.
SB 82 (Green)
Granted authority for an officer to make arrests outside of their jurisdiction for felonies and certain misdemeanors and covered the officer with state workers’ compensation coverage if they are injured when making the arrest.
HB 280 (Barton)
Increased penalty for evading arrest from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A if the actor endangered another during the course of the offense.
HB 474 (Beauchamp)
Prohibited the release of an officer’s photograph to the media or anyone else unless the peace officer grants permission for the release.
HB 824 (Barton)
Prohibited municipal residency requirements for employees.
HB 826 (Morales)
Increased penalties for fugitives who fail to identify or repeat offenders.
SB 382 (Edwards)
Regulated telephone solicitations in the name of law enforcement organizations.
SB 800 (Parmer/Blackwood)
Created the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT).
HB 1592 (Hightower/Lyon)
Made changes to the peace officers licensing statute (TCLEOSE) to abolish the use of temporary licenses, required drug testing before licensing, raised the age to be a peace officer to 21 unless the applicant has 60 hours of college or 2 years of military service, and allowed TCLEOSE to establish rules regarding re-training if there is a break in employment.
SB 540 (Whitmire/Green)
Clarified that park police, airport police, and city marshals in Houston were covered by municipal civil service after the city ignored legislation passed in 1983
HB 1657 (Messer/Parmer)
CLEAT/TSAFF/TML civil service compromise bill. Cleaned up several ambiguous provisions in the municipal civil service statute. Clarified posting requirements for promotional examinations and what constituted a passing score on the exam, among other things.
HB 882 (Danburg/Doggett)
Created criminal offense for misrepresenting during a telephone solicitation for a charitable donation that the proceeds from the solicitation would go to a police or firefighter organization and/or the solicitation was authorized by a police or fire organization.
HB 1015 (Messer/Lyon)
Amended municipal civil service to allow appointment of deputy chiefs, created a procedure for alternate promotional systems, allowed for disciplinary appeals to independent third-party hearing examiners, created the option of uncompensated duty in lieu of suspension, and authorized types of assignment pay.
HB 1750 (Gandy/Lyon)
Allowed the petition for pay raise referendums in municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more and counties with a population of 75,000 or more. The petitioners could also meet with the governmental body to negotiate alternate salary proposals in lieu of conducting the election.
SB 22 (Doggett/Criss)
Prohibited possession of “armor-piercing ammunition”.
SB 155 (McFarland/Evans)
Reauthorized TCLEOSE. Removed training exemptions based on prior experience, restricted reappointment of probationary officers who had not completed training, required new officers to pass commission examination, required 40 hours of in-service training every 2 years, and required appointment of non-supervisory peace officer to TCLEOSE.
SB 173 (Parker/Peveto)
Increased penalties for aggravated assault on a peace officer.
SB 786 (Vale/Hernandez)
Lowered population bracket to include Bexar County under sheriff’s civil service.
SB 389 (Whitmire/Green)
Provided civil service to park police, airport police, and city marshals in Houston.
HB 1700 (Florence/Glasgow)
Defined the term “emergency” for the purpose of requiring police officers to work overtime in municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more.
SB 301 (Brooks/Polumbo)
Created sheriff’s department civil service in counties with a population of 1.5 million or more.
Note: Two bills were vetoed this session.
Exempted home addresses and phone numbers of peace officers from the Open Records Act.
Required new peace officers to complete required training within 6 months of appointment.
Allowed officers in municipalities with a population of 10,000 or more to accept compensatory time at a rate of time-and-a-half in lieu of paid overtime.
Amended civil service to expand probationary period to one year. Also included other provisions related to examinations, promotions, compensation, sick leave, and administrative procedures.
Required standards, training and certification for persons employed as county jailers.
Required municipalities to provide vehicle liability insurance for peace officers and firefighters.
Amended municipal civil service and required a police officer or firefighter to be in a classification for two years before they were eligible for promotion.
Amended civil service and required the civil service commission to appoint a physician to determine continued fitness for a person to serve as a police officer or firefighter. Also guaranteed that a disabled police officer or firefighter could return to their position once they were certified fit to perform their duties.