Abbott open to police reform legislation addressing training

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AUSTIN, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott says he will support legislation expected to be introduced in January that would require more training for law enforcement in policing and tactics.

“I am for the crafting of laws that will pass that I will be signing into law next May,” Gov. Abbott said in a conversation with KTAL’s Dan Jovic on Tuesday. “One example that I’ve heard and that is this, that police officers need – and all law-enforcement officers need – that is better training. Training before they go out on their first day, but training on an annual basis to make sure they know exactly what the standards are. Make sure everybody is reminded about the correct approach, but when they do pull over and stop in and detain someone like George Floyd, making sure that they don’t use life-threatening strategies they could kill someone like George Floyd.”

Abbott visited with the family of George Floyd on Monday ahead of his funeral in Houston Tuesday.

“I wanted to pay my respects directly to the family of George Floyd. I knew that the only opportunity to do that was going to be yesterday as opposed to today where there will just be a crush of people there. And I got to tell you, they are God-loving people. And they are of course in great sorrow for the loss of George Floyd. But they also understand that they have an opportunity to establish a living legacy. And the way that he died is a starting point of reform in this state, in this nation. And that is there should not be anybody arrested, of any color, who was held under a knee of a police officer like that and make sure that they are going to be protected from losing their life to the type of strategy that was used to detain George Floyd,” said Abbott.

“But also you mentioned in talking to the family one thing the family does ask of me, is that they the victims of the death of George Floyd, that will be heavily involved as we move forward, so the process is not gonna be hijacked by the politicians, but those who understand the challenges that we face. Those that have dealt with the challenges that we face will be the centerpiece as we craft solutions going forward that do bridge the racial divide that we have in our country.”

Abbott also said Tuesday that he expects state sales tax revenue to begin to increase as Texas moves into Phase 3 of reopening following widespread shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sales tax revenue funds around 57 percent of the state’s budget, but that revenue was down 13 percent in May compared to the same month last year.

“I would expect sales taxes to begin to increase. It’s hard to tell exactly how much. We do see still caution among consumers in Texas. We know that people want to get out. They want to engage more. Be more heavily involved. It will take a while before we see our economy back up and running the way it was before. However, I do anticipate to see an increase in sales taxes as well as an increase in the oil and gas severance tax that we have coming into the state of Texas because of the increase price of oil.”

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