Texas senators approved legislation in a vote of 21-10 that would ensure district attorneys across the state enforce the law.
“Certain Texas prosecutors have joined a trend of adopting internal policies refusing to prosecute particular laws,” said State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). “These actions set a dangerous precedent and severely undermine the authority of the Legislature.”
Senate Bill 20 by Huffman will bar prosecuting attorneys from limiting or prohibiting the enforcement of any criminal offense, whether that be by adopting and enforcing policy or by demonstrating by pattern or practice.
Any prosecutor violating this provision would be subject to the state’s removal process.
Last summer, five Texas DAs—Jose Garza (Travis County), John Creuzot (Dallas County), Joe Gonzales (Bexar County), Mark Gonzalez (Nueces County), and Brian Middleton (Fort Bend County)—announced their refusal to prosecute illegal abortions.
SB 20 is designed to ensure these prosecutorial refusals to enforce an entire category of laws will not stand.
The legislation is subject to one more vote in the Senate before it can move to the House for consideration.
Similar legislation is currently being considered in the Texas House.