Legislative Updates – Pray for America's Leaders

Legislative Updates

Georgia | May 11, 2021

Georgia Governor Signs Bill Preventing ‘Defund the Police’

Georgia | May 11, 2021

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the “defund the police” movement would endanger Georgian communities and signed a bill into law on May 7, forbidding large budget cuts for local police.

“Today, I am proud to sign [HB] 286 to protect law enforcement budgets and ensure the safety of local communities across Georgia,” Kemp said in a statement.

HB 286 (pdf) prohibits county governing authorities from reducing the police budget by more than 5 percent a year or “during a rolling five-year period.” The Republican-led General Assembly passed the bill and sent it to Kemp in early April.

“Radical movements like the ‘defund the police’ movement seeks to vilify the men and women who leave their families every day and put their lives on the line to protect all Georgians,” Kemp said in a signing ceremony at the Barrow County Sheriffs Office gun range. “This far-left movement will endanger our communities and our law enforcement officers and leave our most vulnerable at risk.”…

(Excerpts from the Epoch Times)

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Florida | May 11, 2021

‘There Will Be Consequences’: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Warns Rioters to Stay Out of His State

Florida | May 11, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a warning to rioters, such as Antifa members, saying that there will be consequences if they come to the sunshine state. According to Faithwire, DeSantis made the remarks during a press conference last week where he pointed to Portland, Oregon, as the epicenter of the ongoing riots that began last spring. “I think if you look around the country, what happens is, like in Portland, these people riot every night,” DeSantis said. “They go, they get their mug shot, and then they get put right back on the street and do it again. That’s what we don’t want.”…

(Excerpts from Christian Headlines)

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Vermont | May 10, 2021

‘Gay Panic’ no excuse in Vermont with new law

Vermont | May 10, 2021

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed legislation on Wednesday that bans the use of the so-called “gay panic” defense in courts of law.

“With this legislation, Republicans, Democrats and Progressives alike send a message to Vermonters–that your identity should never be an excuse for someone to cause you harm,” the two-term Republican said in a message upon signing the historic legislation. “What this bill does is make sure a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity can’t be used to defend or justify a criminal act, or lower a sentence.”

The defense is a legal strategy used by a defendant on trial for a violent crime in which they typically seek to supplement a temporary insanity defense by arguing that an unwanted advance from a gay person led them to such a state of rage that they admittedly committed a violent crime, up to and including murder.

A companion strategy called the “trans panic” defense is sometimes used by defendants who have sex or otherwise hook up with a transgender woman, attack or murder them, and then claim they were unaware of the victim’s transgender status.

Excerpt from Law and Crime

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Virginia | May 9, 2021

Police Departments Say Budget Cuts Are the Reason They’ve Been Unable to Hire New Officers

Virginia | May 9, 2021

Multiple police departments told the Daily Caller News Foundation that recruiting officers is not an issue, but budget constraints have limited their ability to increase manpower.

Almost a year after George Floyd died during an arrest where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes resulting in nationwide civil unrest and the defund the police movement, most police departments say they still have a sufficient number of candidates but lack the funding to recruit them.

“The Minneapolis Police Department, like every department, has seen a drop in application numbers over the last several years,” Minneapolis Police Department Spokesperson John Elder told the DCNF. “Whereas we have seen a reduction in applications, we still have ample qualified candidates who wish to be Minneapolis Police Officers and Cadets [and the department’s] recruitment efforts are ongoing.”

The Minneapolis Police Academy managed to get every recruit to graduation despite civil unrest and demands to cut their department’s funding in June 2020, the DCNF reported. Elder told the DCNF at the time that there were fewer applications to become an officer, but those who were recruited all completed their training.

The San Francisco Police Department has seen a decrease in the number of applicants in the last five years, spokesperson Michael Andraychak told the DCNF. The department received around 4,800 applications from 2015 to 2016 and roughly 2,600 from 2019 to 2020, down approximately 375 from the previous year..

(Excerpts from The Virginia Star)

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Wisconsin | May 7, 2021

After the Riots: Kenosha police claim they’ve been unfairly villainized

Wisconsin | May 7, 2021

On Aug. 23, 2020, a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake as he scuffled with law enforcement officers in one of several incidents that rocked the nation last summer. Riots that occurred in the ensuing days brought violence, destruction, and the national spotlight to the small Wisconsin city. The Washington Examiner recently went back to Kenosha to find out what has happened in the aftermath.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN  Reminders of the shooting of Jacob Blake Jr. and the riots that followed are all over Kenosha.

The Dinosaur Discovery Museum in the middle of town still has plywood on all of its windows. The brick wall next to Hidden Treasures on 60th Street still reads “F— you, Rusten Sheskey,” despite numerous attempts to cover it up. Graffiti on side streets and boarded-up storefronts call out “racist” police. Nine months after the small Wisconsin city of fewer than 100,000 residents was thrust into the national spotlight, it is clear that the wound is still raw.

While there have been tensions in the past between police and Kenosha’s minority residents, none has compared to the 2020 shooting of Blake.

Officer Sheskey, a white man, shot Blake, a black man, seven times in the back. No charges were filed against him…

(Excerpts from The Washington Examiner)

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Texas | May 4, 2021

Crime exacerbates political tensions

Texas | May 4, 2021

COTULLA, Texas — About 300 yards from the LaSalle County courthouse on Main Street is a fenced-in lot packed with stolen pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans that were mostly stolen in major cities and gutted of their seats by smugglers looking to transport migrants who illegally crossed the border. Some of the vehicles were hastily painted white to blend in with vehicles headed to oil fields.

Although Cotulla is dozens of miles from the border, it is close to a Border Patrol checkpoint that smugglers try to avoid by using back roads, going off-road, crashing through ranch fences and driving dangerously fast before crashing or abruptly stopping, the doors of the vehicle then flying open and people dispersing in all directions.

Some degree of illegal immigration, human smuggling and organized crime has long been part of life in mesquite country, especially along the busy Interstate 35 corridor, but South Texas law enforcement officials say it has increased in recent weeks, and hazardous high-speed chases have become a routine occurrence in rural communities. Tiny law enforcement agencies, such as the one here in LaSalle County, act as a second layer of a border enforcement apparatus that tries to stop smugglers, drugs and undocumented immigrants before they disappear into big cities.

This increase has worried many local residents, and the debate over possible solutions often plays out on the Facebook pages of sheriff’s and police departments, with views falling along already tense political lines. LaSalle County, where more than 87 percent of residents identify as Hispanic, has long been led by Democrats. But in the 2020 election voters backed Donald Trump, making him the first Republican presidential candidate in at least three decades to win the county.

Anyone who has lived in South Texas in the past 30 years can wax poetic about giving water to parched “walkers” or migrants of years ago, usually single men from Mexico looking for work. But the past four years of border policies makes this feel different, residents of different political persuasions say. They are afraid that the border-crossers evading capture at the river — often while the Border Patrol is busy processing large numbers of migrant families and unaccompanied children — are ending up in the back of smugglers’ stolen cars and threatening their safety.

But the question of what should be done divides residents, with many conservatives blaming the increase in crime on the Biden administration’s approach at the border and too much compassion for migrants arriving in the United States, while many liberals — including local elected leaders — countering that the increase is the expected result of increased patrolling and attention to the border.

(Excerpts from The Washington Post)

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