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Texas HB 429 Aims at Crimes Against Police and First Responders

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With attacks on police on the rise across the country, the most recent of which in San Antonio itself, a bill has been introduced at the Texas House of Representatives which, if passed, would render such attacks a hate crime, thus increasing penalties for their perpetration.

Texas HB 429 Aims at Crimes Against Police and First Responders

Photo: Flickr/Texasbackroads

The first of its kind, HB 429 will also recognize emergency responders and firefighters as targets of such crimes and will be introduced as emergency legislation for review and voting in the January assembly. Coming on the heels of the recent murder of San Antonio detective, Benjamin Marconi, who was ambushed in his patrol car outside of the city’s police department, the bill aims to increase the penalty for attacking police and first responders.

Texas HB 429 Aims at Crimes Against Police and First Responders

Photo: Vimeo.com

With 58 officers listed nationwide for 2016 on the Officer Down Memorial Page, 7 of which from Texas, the bill which was co-written by Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba, the Dallas Police Association, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the Texas Municipal Police Association, seeks to strengthen the Police Protection Act (PPA), which Gov. Greg Abbott had prior plans to proceed with.

Texas HB 429 Aims at Crimes Against Police and First Responders

Photo: Flickr/Gageskidmore

In a Houston Chronicle interview referencing the PPA, Gov. Abbott stated, “At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities.” His resolve reverberates with the development and introduction of Villalba’s bill, which will not only increase the punishment for crimes against police and first responders but will also make assaults on an officer a 2nd-degree felony as opposed to a 3rd.