AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Botham Jean Act, or Bo’s Law, is officially heading to the governor’s desk after passing in the Texas Senate Monday night.
The bill, authored by DeSoto Democrat Rep. Carl Sherman, is named after the Dallas native who was killed in his own apartment by an off-duty officer. Lawmakers say it will increase police accountability.
“It will create more true truth and transparency,” Rep. Sherman said, explaining that the bill would make it against the law for a police officer to turn their body cam off during an active investigation.
“The body cam does not belong to the police officer, the body cam belongs to the citizens of Texas. And so let’s create evidence to ensure that there is always truth and transparency and honor for all those who wear the badge,” Rep. Sherman said.
It’s one of the few democratic police reform bills to survive this session. The George Floyd Act, which would have implemented a statewide strategy on police use of force and eliminated qualified immunity, never made it past its first committee hearing.
But, Rep. Sherman explained Bo’s Law does have a tie to George Floyd, whose murder took place exactly a year ago Tuesday.
The bill’s assigned number, HB 929, was originally given in honor of Bo’s birthday, September 29.
During Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, Rep. Sherman said he got chills when he heard familiar digits.
“For many months, we believe that it was eight minutes and 46 seconds that the officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, only to find out on the first day of the trial, it was revealed that it was nine minutes and 29 seconds,” Rep. Sherman said.
He hopes this connection serves as a reminder that more work still needs to be done.
“When the attorneys revealed that, it was just chills through my spine,” Rep. Sherman recalled. “The connection is undeniable.”