Since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, protests have sprung up across the country. From them, a new call to “Defund the Police” has emerged.
While not one unified set of demands for reform exists, some common themes can be found at the forefront of the discussion.
The Texan asked every member of the Texas House whether they supported or opposed the following proposals:
- The complete abolition of police departments
- Using funding to leverage policy changes in the police departments
- Shifting large portions of funding to community resources
Legislators were given the option to respond in the following ways:
- Yes, I support all of the stated proposals.
- No, I support none of the stated proposals.
- Or, respond with a brief statement further specifying or clarifying your position.
Their responses are listed below. If a member replied after the deadline, an asterisk will appear next to their name.
To see how Texas Senators responded, click here.
To see how the Texas congressional delegation responded, click here.
|Gary VanDeaver (R)||1||Statement||"I am opposed to defunding police departments and believe it is very reckless to even discuss such action. I am convinced that policies and expectations concerning police action must be reviewed and improved, but this must be a much larger discussion and something that must be done with careful and thoughtful manner."|
|Dan Flynn (R)||2||Statement||"We are seeing themes from the left of reducing police budgets or totally defunding them. Many of you are deeply concerned about this, and you should be. A prime socialist way to gain control of you is to weaken or eliminate opposition to law and order that is counter to “their” view of ‘justice’ because if you don’t have protection, then you don’t have an ability to fight them off. I continue to promise to fully fund law enforcement and fight attempts to take away their ability to ‘protect and serve’. Additionally I will work toward enhancing funding to strengthen ties and cooperation between communities, schools and the police so that we may continue to have liberty instead of government dominance."|
|Cecil Bell (R)||3||Did not reply.|
|Keith Bell (R)||4||Did not reply.|
|Cole Hefner (R)||5||No|
|Matt Schaefer (R)||6||Statement||"Defunding the police is a destructive proposal, and I reject it in the strongest terms. Abolishing or significantly reducing police resources as proposed will endanger public safety."|
|Jay Dean (R)||7||Did not reply.|
|Cody Harris (R)||8||Statement||"The idea of defunding the police is beyond absurd. While we must take steps to ensure that what happened to George Floyd never happens again in America, getting rid of entire police departments illustrates, perfectly, how incredibly naïve and irrational modern liberalism is. I always have and always will strongly support the thousands upon thousands of good, honest law enforcement officers throughout Texas who put their lives on the line every single day to keep our communities safe."|
|Chris Paddie (R)||9||Did not reply.|
|John Wray (R)||10||Did not reply.|
|Travis Clardy (R)||11||Did not reply.|
|Kyle Kacal (R)||12||Did not reply.|
|Ben Leman (R)||13||Did not reply.|
|John Raney (R)||14||Did not reply.|
|Steve Toth (R)||15||No|
|Will Metcalf (R)||16||Did not reply.|
|John Cyrier (R)||17||Did not reply.|
|Ernest Bailes (R)||18||Did not reply.|
|James White (R)||19||Statement||"Fundamentally, I am opposed to all of this leftist orthodoxy. No, I support none of the stated proposals."|
|*Terry Wilson (R)||20||No|
|Dade Phelan (R)||21||Did not reply.|
|Joe Deshotel (D)||22||Did not reply.|
|Mayes Middleton (R)||23||No|
|Greg Bonnen (R)||24||Did not reply.|
|Dennis Bonnen (R)||25||Did not reply.|
|Rick Miller (R)||26||Did not reply.|
|Ron Reynolds (D)||27||Did not reply.|
|Gary Gates (R)||28||Statement||"The situation with Mr Floyd is tragic and it certainly brings to light changes should be implemented. It’s irresponsible to suggest abolishing the police departments. I believe we should reduce and move away from the militarization of our police department’s. They are acquiring military type equipment that tends to bolden aggressive tactics. Bring in more due process in seizures by authorities. There needs to be more open investigations of complaints and stiffer penalties. It appears the officer in this situation had numerous complaints and little was done.
But the problem goes deeper than over aggressive police tactics. I’m not for more government polices that discourages families. There should be more opportunities in our schools to have access to vocational training that starts in 8th grade. Have student’s working part time in their skills by 11th grade. Learn high paying jobs at earlier age. Plumbing, carpentry, electrical and etc..
I present these from a background of raising four black kids who are producing members of society and I employee 500 workers of which 90% are blue collar jobs but rarely have people from the black community apply for these jobs. Many of these pay 35k to 70k per year."
|Ed Thompson (R)||29||Did not reply.|
|Geanie W. Morrison (R)||30||Did not reply.|
|Ryan Guillen (D)||31||Did not reply.|
|Todd Hunter (R)||32||Did not reply.|
|Justin Holland (R)||33||Statement||"The reason that I am in public service is because of both my grandfather and great grandfather who served as a Rockwall County Constable and my hometown's first Chief of Police in the 1970's, respectively. Both of them also served as Rockwall County Sheriff's Deputies and my great grandfather was a jailer in Huntsville at the beginning of his career. Their example is both admirable and inspired me to serve. I consistently vote 100% the time with law enforcement (i.e. CLEAT, TMPA and DPA) and fully stand by our law enforcement community. I am a member of the Rockwall County Sheriff's Posse and will always support the LE community. I have always shown a strong record both at the local city council level in supporting funding of public safety and in the legislature as a member of the committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety."|
|Abel Herrero (D)||34||Did not reply.|
|Oscar Longoria (D)||35||Did not reply.|
|Sergio Muñoz Jr. (D)||36||Did not reply.|
|Alex Dominguez (D)||37||Did not reply.|
|Eddie Lucio III (D)||38||Did not reply.|
|Armando "Mando" Martinez (D)||39||Did not reply.|
|Terry Canales (D)||40||Did not reply.|
|Bobby Guerra (D)||41||Did not reply.|
|Richard Peña Raymond (D)||42||Did not reply.|
|J.M. Lozano (R)||43||Did not reply.|
|John Kuempel (R)||44||Did not reply.|
|Erin Zwiener (D)||45||Did not reply.|
|Sheryl Cole (D)||46||Did not reply.|
|Vikki Goodwin (D)||47||Did not reply.|
|Donna Howard (D)||48||Did not reply.|
|Gina Hinojosa (D)||49||Did not reply.|
|Celia Israel (D)||50||Did not reply.|
|Eddie Rodriguez (D)||51||Did not reply.|
|James Talarico (D)||52||Did not reply.|
|Andrew Murr (R)||53||Did not reply.|
|Brad Buckley (R)||54||No|
|Hugh Shine (R)||55||Did not reply.|
|Charles "Doc" Anderson (R)||56||Did not reply.|
|Trent Ashby (R)||57||Did not reply.|
|Dewayne Burns (R)||58||Did not reply.|
|J.D. Sheffield (R)||59||Statement||“I do not support the abolition, defunding. or shifting of resources away from our police forces.”|
|Mike Lang (R)||60||No|
|Phil King (R)||61||No|
|Reggie Smith (R)||62||Did not reply.|
|Tan Parker (R)||63||Did not reply.|
|Lynn Stucky (R)||64||Did not reply.|
|Michelle Beckley (D)||65||Did not reply.|
|Matt Shaheen (R)||66||Statement||“I will never support radical leftists' agenda of placing the life and property of millions of Texans at risk by defunding the police."|
|Jeff Leach (R)||67||Statement||"Any suggestions that police agencies should be defunded are reckless and wrong. We will boldly pursue justice for any Texan wronged by police misconduct and will work collaboratively with our officers to institute smart and sensible reforms going forward. But make no mistake: there are thousands of amazingly selfless, brave, decent and good men and women serving in the thin blue line in Texas - and the Texas legislature must and will have their back."|
|Drew Springer (R)||68||No|
|James Frank (R)||69||Did not reply.|
|Scott Sanford (R)||70||No|
|Stan Lambert (R)||71||Did not reply.|
|Drew Darby (R)||72||Did not reply.|
|Kyle Biedermann (R)||73||Statement||"I believe policy changes should be ever-evolving to ensure the highest standard of safety for both citizens and law enforcement. With that said, without law enforcement, there is no point in having laws and the safety of law abiding citizens will be easily compromised by law breakers and evil doers. There is no justice in that. If you are looking for justice, law and order is a requirement for a civilized society. I completely oppose any efforts to abolish or defund police departments."|
|Poncho Nevárez (D)||74||Did not reply.|
|Mary González (D)||75||Did not reply.|
|Cesar Blanco (D)||76||Did not reply.|
|Evelina "Lina" Ortega (D)||77||Did not reply.|
|Joe Moody (D)||78||Did not reply.|
|Art Fierro (D)||79||Did not reply.|
|Tracy O. King (D)||80||Did not reply.|
|Brooks Landgraf (R)||81||Did not reply.|
|Tom Craddick (R)||82||Did not reply.|
|Dustin Burrows (R)||83||No|
|John Frullo (R)||84||Statement||"I do not support defunding the police."|
|Phil Stephenson (R)||85||Did not reply.|
|John T. Smithee (R)||86||Did not reply.|
|Four Price (R)||87||Did not reply.|
|Ken King (R)||88||Did not reply.|
|Candy Noble (R)||89||No|
|Ramon Romero Jr. (D)||90||Did not reply.|
|Stephanie Klick (R)||91||Did not reply.|
|Jonathan Stickland (R)||92||Did not reply.|
|*Matt Krause (R)||93||Statement||“I do not support defunding police. The murder of George Floyd was tragic and unnecessary, but I cannot support an action that will make our communities less safe. This legislative session I will work with my colleagues to ensure law enforcement across the state has the necessary resources and training to protect their communities and hold officers accountable who use unnecessary excessive force.”|
|Tony Tinderholt (R)||94||Statement||“What happened in Minneapolis was a true tragedy. The life of George Floyd mattered, and those who ended his life need to be brought to justice. I have chosen to be slow to speak into this issue to allow time to process all that is happening. Far too often politicians have knee-jerk reactions to whatever crisis is before them.
What happened to George Floyd must never happen in Texas - or anywhere else - ever again. I am committed to working with all stakeholders to punish bad policing swiftly, while also ensuring our law enforcement is fully funded and prepared to keep our communities safe.
Any reforms we put in place must lead to more justice and proper protections for citizens. Some solutions suggested by far-left radicals would lead to anarchy and open the door to mass crime and more unjust acts perpetuated against our poorest communities. I will not allow that happen.”
|Nicole Collier (D)||95||Did not reply.|
|Bill Zedler (R)||96||No|
|Craig Goldman (R)||97||Did not reply.|
|Giovanni Capriglione (R)||98||Did not reply.|
|Charlie Geren (R)||99||Did not reply.|
|Lorraine Birabil (D)||100||Did not reply.|
|Chris Turner (D)||101||Did not reply.|
|Ana-Maria Ramos (D)||102||Did not reply.|
|Rafael Anchia (D)||103||Did not reply.|
|Jessica González (D)||104||Did not reply.|
|Thresa "Terry" Meza (D)||105||Did not reply.|
|Jared Patterson (R)||106||No|
|Victoria Neave (D)||107||Did not reply.|
|Morgan Meyer (R)||108||Did not reply.|
|*Carl Sherman Jr. (D)||109||Statement||"As a former Mayor and City Manager, as well as citizen, I do believe we need reform in this area. I also believe that we, as individuals, have the right to hold our police accountable. We must also remember that we as a community need to also be involved in this and other matters...not just today but every day.
State and city funding would be well spent by ensuring that our police departments are an extension of our community rather than a force that also acts as judge and jury.
The time for Legislatively reimagining our police departments across the nation is now. Many have been crying out for years for change only to have their pleas fall on deaf ears inside the community of political elites. The moment has come for bold reform in policing. We must protest in solidarity as we go into the 87th legislative session in honor of the many George Floyd’s who couldn’t breathe because of police brutality."
|Toni Rose (D)||110||Did not reply.|
|Yvonne Davis (D)||111||Did not reply.|
|Angie Chen Button (R)||112||Did not reply.|
|Rhetta Bowers (D)||113||Did not reply.|
|John Turner (D)||114||Did not reply.|
|Julie Johnson (D)||115||Did not reply.|
|Trey Martinez-Fischer (D)||116||Did not reply.|
|Philip Cortez (D)||117||Did not reply.|
|Leo Pacheco (D)||118||Did not reply.|
|Roland Gutierrez (D)||119||Did not reply.|
|Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D)||120||Did not reply.|
|Steve Allison (R)||121||Did not reply.|
|Lyle Larson (R)||122||Did not reply.|
|Diego Bernal (D)||123||Did not reply.|
|Ina Minjarez (D)||124||Did not reply.|
|Ray Lopez (D)||125||Did not reply.|
|Sam Harless (R)||126||Statement||"As a citizen and community leader actively engaged with our law enforcement community, I too am saddened by the injustice in the killing of George Floyd. As a nation, we have entrusted to law enforcement tremendous responsibility and authority over our citizens and that power must be tempered with compassion. There is a point when force moves from restraint to punishment, which is not in the purview of law enforcement.
Many of the issues involved in this injustice will not be solved by removing our primary source of community protection. Safety is a critical component of our society and defunding the police would simply serve to create more opportunity for crime, for abuse of our most vulnerable, and lawlessness, all without an adequate source for resolution. This seems like a “knee-jerk reaction” to the problem, not a long term or comprehensive solution.
This is a complex social issue that I don’t believe will be resolved by such an approach. Defunding police departments leaves much of our society without protection and we don’t yet have a better solution. Nationalize police, leave it to counties where police officials are elected and accountable to the people? I’m certainly in favor of leveraging positive changes to policy on use of force, but such leverage currently exists, if local officials have the will to use it. We need to first ensure that our law enforcement leadership is directly engaged with providing proper supervision, responds appropriately and decisively when abuses occur, and our hiring practices identify and weed out those with such tendencies."
|Dan Huberty (R)||127||Did not reply.|
|Briscoe Cain (R)||128||No|
|Dennis Paul (R)||129||Did not reply.|
|*Tom Oliverson (R)||130||Statement||"I would support none of those options. I would support a careful review of qualified immunity. "|
|Alma Allen (D)||131||Did not reply.|
|Gina Calanni (D)||132||Did not reply.|
|Jim Murphy (R)||133||Did not reply.|
|Sarah Davis (R)||134||Did not reply.|
|Jon Rosenthal (D)||135||Did not reply.|
|John Bucy III (D)||136||Did not reply.|
|Gene Wu (D)||137||Did not reply.|
|Dwayne Bohac (R)||138||Did not reply.|
|Jarvis Johnson (D)||139||Did not reply.|
|Armando Walle (D)||140||Did not reply.|
|Senfronia Thompson (D)||141||Did not reply.|
|Harold Dutton Jr. (D)||142||Did not reply.|
|Ana Hernandez (D)||143||Did not reply.|
|Mary Ann Perez (D)||144||Did not reply.|
|Christina Morales (D)||145||Statement||"The murder of George Floyd is saddening and angering. As a Houstonian and third ward community member, his death and story will be remembered. We must do more to hold police accountable and build a system that does not instill violence and fear but rather protects our communities and cities. It begins with our state and local governments working to ensure that we provide and assure the basic needs of all communities. We need to ensure that there is safe housing and accessible quality education that support and increase the number of stable, well-paying jobs. We also need to work together to develop a robust system of affordable healthcare access that provides the critical mental health services we currently lack. Through dialogue, understanding, and compassion we can improve the quality of life in all of our communities and build a better society today and for the future."|
|Shawn Thierry (D)||146||Did not reply.|
|Garnet Coleman (D)||147||Statement||"In Houston we do not have enough peace officers per capita. This is not a solution. But we can fund programs that create alternatives without defunding the police departments in America."|
|Anna Eastman (D)||148||Did not reply.|
|Hubert Vo (D)||149||Did not reply.|
|Valoree Swanson (R)||150||No|
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
McKenzie Taylor serves as Interim Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.