Ham-handedness rules

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

There is something that borders on ham-handed governance that troubles me about the Texas Legislature’s apparent desire to punish cities that take money away from police departments in response to the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.

Why is that? It’s because the Legislature is trying to tell communities — the folks who govern their own affairs — how their elected officials should do their jobs.

According to the Texas Tribune: The Texas House on Friday passed a bill to financially penalize the state’s largest cities if they cut their police budgets. The measure was sent to the Senate after two days of heated debate and emotional speeches, with the bill authors calling to “back the blue” and the opposition decrying the bill as political propaganda.

Texas cities that cut police funding could face financial penalties | The Texas Tribune

Let’s call it what it appears to be: a political payback ploy launched by Republicans who control the Legislature against cities run by politicians who lean Democratic.

I want to stipulate in the clearest terms possible that I oppose efforts to “defund the police” in response to what has happened in communities across Texas and the nation. I believe there is ample room for reform and I want the cops to keep the money.

If the Princeton City Council — in a highly unlikely event — were to “defund” the cops, I would be among the loudest protesters calling for the ouster of every one of them. That, however, would be their call, which thus would give voters like me a chance to respond accordingly.

The Legislature has no business dictating to cities how they should spend taxpayer funds dedicated to certain municipal services, such as police protection.

Texans don’t want the state to adopt this kind of ham-handed policy … do they?

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