Sweep­ing ar­rest, jail re­forms pro­posed with San­dra Bland Act

Crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form bill would strengthen pro­fil­ing laws.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Chuck Lin­dell clin­dell@states­man.com Bland

Us­ing the 2015 jail death of San­dra Bland as a cat­a­lyst for change, a Hous­ton Demo­cratic leg­is­la­tor filed a sweep­ing crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form bill Thurs­day that would strengthen racial-pro­fil­ing laws, pro­hibit jail­ing for fine-only of­fenses and limit po­lice searches dur­ing traf­fic stops.

House Bill 2702, dubbed the San­dra Bland Act, is in­tended to im­prove the safety of po­lice, the peo­ple they stop and the suspects they ar­rest and send to county jails, state Rep. Gar­net Cole­man said.

“This should make it safer for ev­ery­one,” he said at a news con­fer­ence to un­veil the bill out­side the Texas Supreme Court build­ing in downtown Austin.

Bland was found hanged in a Waller County Jail cell three days af­ter a rou­tine traf­fic stop es­ca­lated into a con­fronta­tion with a De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety trooper and led to her ar­rest. Had the re­forms in HB 2702 been in place two years

House Bill 1335 would cre­ate ed­u­ca­tion sav­ings ac­counts for cer­tain stu­dents who want to leave pub­lic school.

The ac­counts, tied to debit cards, would be loaded with state money — equiv­a­lent to 90 per­cent of what school dis­tricts get from not set up to be

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