Criminal justice, background check bills pass Texas House in 11th hour


AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As the clock ticked closer to a midnight deadline, lawmakers in the Texas House gave initial approval to a handful of criminal justice bills Thursday night.

Among the bills receiving initial approval Thursday night was House Bill 1971, which would require state-run jails and prisons to purchase and install air conditioning.

The bill, authored by State Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, would only require the air conditioning purchases if the state to appropriated the funds to make those purchases.

The House also passed Bo’s Law Thursday night, which is named after Botham Jean. The Dallas native was killed by his neighbor, an off-duty officer at the time, in his apartment, which the officer said she mistook for her own unit one floor below.

HB 929, authored by State Rep. Carl Sherman, Sr., D-DeSoto, would add to penalties for officers turning off dash or body camera recordings during an investigation.

House lawmakers also passed a background check bill, HB 347, which has a Senate companion – SB 162. If it became law, it would create a felony to lie on a firearms background check form.

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, said he filed the bill for the victims of the Odessa shooting, who he said should not have died, and that the shooter should have been in jail.

All of these bills require a third reading and final vote in the House on Friday before moving onto the Senate.

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