On August 13, 2020, the Austin City Council unanimously voted for a $4.2 billion budget that featured approximately $150 million in planned budget cuts to the Austin police.
However, only $20 million or so will be slashed from the department’s funding.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that the final approval of the budget came “after the council heard months of outcry from community members demanding police budget cuts in the wake of protests against police brutality.”
On August 12, over 200 people showed up to speak at the council meeting. Most were in favor of the cuts or wanted deeper cuts.
Before the City Council’s changes to the budget, the initial police budget proposal was about $434 million in funding.
Of the $150 million the council has re-allocated towards other areas, roughly $21.5 million will be cut from the department’s funding by scrapping three upcoming cadet classes; cutting overtime costs by roughly $3 million and withdrawing more than $3 million from commodities and contractuals, and $1 million from records management. In addition, more than $220,000 from license plate readers and vacancies to the department’s mounted patrol will be cut.
This money will be shifted towards a multitude of community programs and city departments, which includes Austin-Travis County EMS for Wuhan virus response, mental health response, violence prevention, a family violence shelter, and victim services.
In addition, funds were shifted towards parks and trails and abortion access, among other areas,
Council Member Greg Casar stated that the council knows that there is still much work to be done in moving the approximately $129 million in transitional funds away from the Austin police department.
“There’s so much more that we know our community is asking for if we want to truly reimagine public safety, and we know that we should be clear-eyed that there will be well-funded efforts to fearmonger about this vote and send us backward, to talk about the false notion that this council isn’t interested in safety, but that’s exactly what this council unanimously has been working toward: justice and safety for everyone,” Casar stated.
Mayor Steve Adler declared that the cuts are not meant to be used as punishment against the police
“We’re going to improve public safety and Austin together,” Adler stated. “We need, and I welcome, the knowledge, the expertise and the goodwill that our first responders are going to bring to this process. And one thing I know is that if we do this together, when we do this together, we’re going to reach a much better place.”
In voting to cut the police budget, Austin accompanies Seattle, Minneapolis, and Portland cities that have made efforts to gut the police.
Corby Jastrow, president of the Greater Austin Crime Commission, has called on the council to not cancel cadet classes. Jastrow noted that the group supports funding for community health paramedics, family violence, mental health response and violence prevention. However, he has expressed concerns about the cutbacks in police positions.
“The crime commission is reassured that the community will have input in the process to evaluate police operations and reforms in the months ahead,” he commented. “The budget rider amendment that makes clear police cadet classes may continue next year is encouraging, and we look forward to the timely completion of the work to improve training.”
“I think that we have a history of this police department,” Manley highlighted. “One of the things I’m proud of is the work that the men and women at the Austin Police Department have done in advancing change.”
On August 13, Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were in disagreement with the city’s decision to cut the police budget.
Abbott proclaimed that he would deploy state troopers to “stand in the gap to protect our capital city.” Paxton described the council’s action as an “unwarranted attack” on the Police Department’s budget that was inspired by “cancel culture.”
To its credit, Texas still has solid gun laws that allows its citizens to arm themselves and use them in self-defense against criminals.
Nevertheless, moves to defund police will create an environment of public disorder and allow for crime to increase at unprecedented rates. Murder rates have already increased significantly in cities like Austin since 2019, so there could be a generalized trend kicking off in the not too distant future.
Merrick Garland Suggests that Getting Rid of Lawsuit Protections is Not a Second Amendment Violation
Garland as AG will be a disaster for the right to bear arms.
If Merrick Garland is nominated as Attorney General, the Second Amendment is in big trouble.
Based on his comments at a Senate hearing on February 22, 2021, Garland made a suggestion that the repeal of lawsuit protections for gun manufacturers is not unconstitutional.
AWR Hawkins of Breitbart News reminded his readers that President Joe Biden campaigned on a platform of repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which shielded lawful gun manufacturers from lawsuits.
In a previous Breitbart News report, Biden spoke at an MSNBC forum in 2019 alongside gun control organizations such as March for Our Lives where he expressed his support for gun manufacturers to be subject to lawsuits.
At the speech, Biden suggested that the PLCC be repealed. He declared, “No other outfit in history has gotten this kind of protection” and asserted that the legal actions would bring about “change overnight.”
In a subsequent occasion on February 7, 2020, Breitbart News covered Biden’s remarks to a New Hampshire crowd, in which he stated that it was a “mistake” to shield firearms manufacturers from lawsuits. He continued, “The first thing I’m going to do as president is work to get rid of that.”
Later that month, Breitbart News recalled how Biden called out gun manufacturers at a South Carolina rally and boasted, “I’m going to take you down.”
According to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah Senator Mike Lee asked Garland about his views on removing protections for gun manufacturers. Garland responded, “I have not thought myself deeply about this. I don’t think it raises a Second Amendment issue.”
When he was questioned if he is in favor of Biden’s plans to ban so-called “assault weapons”, Garland responded, “Where there is room under the law for the president’s policies to be pursued, then I think the president is entitled to pursue them.”
Biden’s track record as a gun control proponent is well-documented. From his support of gun-free zones at schools to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, Biden is Gun Control Inc.’s guy. With Democrats in control of the House and the Senate, there will most certainly be attempts to ram gun control down our throats. If they can’t beat us legislatively, they will most certainly use the courts to undermine the Second Amendment. Pro-gun organizations should be ready to lawyer up and use whatever means possible to keep courts from destroying our rights.
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