House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee met on May 5th to discuss several bills. This report covers discussions concerning HB 1108 (Dominguez), SB 68 (Miles), SB 841 (Hughes), and SB 69 (Miles). The full notice can be found here, and a video of the hearing can be found here.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Vote Outs:

  • SB 68 (Miles) 9-0
  • SB 69 (Miles) 7-2
  • SB 841 (Hughes) 9-0


HB 1108 (Dominguez) Relating to the eligibility of an individual to be issued a license to operate as a dispensing organization under the Texas Compassionate-Use Act, or to act as a director, manager, or employee of a dispensing organization, based on a criminal history background check.

  • Currently dispensing organizations must submit an RSD 303 form for each employee
  • If the applicant has a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana, they are prohibited from working at such establishment
  • Bill would allow those with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to be employed by these businesses


Mike Miller, Warriors for Ranchers – For

  • Border crisis has affected him and other ranchers in Uvalde, asking for more support to solve the issue


HB 1108 left pending


SB 68 (Miles) Relating to a duty for peace officers to intervene and make a report when a peace officer uses excessive force

  • Bill passed out of the senate unanimously
  • Officer who witnessed excessive force must report it immediately to the proper supervisor
  • Addresses issue of officers not intervening by requiring them to do so, if the officer “should have known” that another officer is using excessive force that is breaking the law, puts someone in bodily harm, etc


Mike Miller, Warriors for Ranchers – For

  • Many officers have taken it too far
  • Sometimes excessive force is required in border control


Rebecca Bernhardt, Innocence Project of Texas – For

  • Important start to police reform, could have saved George Floyd’s life
  • Bill may be somewhat complicated in the field and if so may need to be revisited in the future


Kathy Mitchell, Just Liberty – On

  • Legislation is critically important
  • Duty to intervene can include other things than just use of force


Chris Jones, CLEAT – For

  • Officers have a duty to enforce the law, if an officer is using excessive force there is a duty to intervene; believes this has always been a duty, most departments have this written included in policy
  • CLEAT in no way supports the use of excessive force or misconduct
  • Schaefer – Bodily injury is a very low threshold. How does the officer nearby make a judgement on this?
    • It goes back to the objective reasonability standard; it is what is in the officer’s mind at the time
  • Schaefer – Would this make civil litigation against officers more or less likely?
    • No, you can always be sued. Officers for years have been making reports to justify force to supplement evidence which must be continued


Koretta Brown, Alliance for the New Justice System – On

  • Only wants officers to do the right things for the right reasons


Carmen Ivonne, Texas Organizing for Youth – On

  • Officers’ duty is to take care of the people
  • If it were not for technology, we would never see these things


Warren Burkley, Austin Justice Coalition – On

  • The bill is a good start, but could be improved to hold officers accountable


Reynolds, in closing   

  • Most of us believe the majority of officers are good and are there to serve and protect
  • Bill in no way targets good officers, just affirms what most good officers are already doing


SB 68 voted out 9-0


SB 841 (Hughes) Relating to the availability of personal information of individuals who are honorably retired from certain law enforcement positions.

  • Current law allows active officers to have their information such as their home address hidden from public view
  • Bill just extends that right and private protection to honorably retired officers


Anthony Kivela, Houston Police Retired Officers Association – For

  • This bill is a simple fix, gives an analogy to illustrate the importance of why this bill and fix is needed
  • The inability of some to take responsibility for their own actions can cause suspects to retaliate


Mike Miller, Warriors for Ranchers – For

  • Supports officers and their safety and this legislation


SB 841 voted out 9-0


SB 69 (Miles) Relating to prohibiting peace officers from using neck restraints during a search or arrest.

  • White – Provides a statewide standard in the code prohibiting neck restraints with the exception that it is necessary to protect the officer or others from bodily injury
  • Language has been vetted and is looking for support to get this legislation moving


Rebecca Bernhardt, Innocence Project of Texas – For

  • Bill bans some chokeholds but does not ban all ways that an officer can stop ones breathing, it is a good start


Chris Jones, CLEAT – For

  • Reasonable discussions about this have allowed for an exception when the officer is fighting for their life


Kathy Mitchell, Just Liberty – On

  • It is not clear under the current language that the George Floyd chokehold would have been permissible under this bill as it is currently laid out, need to have a direction and believes this bill serves as a direction


Koretta Brown, Alliance for the New Justice System – On

  • Understands that is a first step forward, hopes that it protects public safety


SB 69 voted out 7-2