DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In less than a week, state lawmakers will meet in Austin for another legislative session.
Those lawmakers have already filed more than 500 bills for the upcoming session.
This year, law enforcement and civil rights groups will be at odds over several controversial issues.
Civil rights groups are pushing for reforms on pot and police shootings that have officers protesting.
The smell or sight of marijuana on a suspect or in a vehicle can be used to justify a search by authorities.
It’s a tactic Dallas Police and other departments across the state have used for decades.
Bills filed in the state legislature to decriminalize marijuana could take away what officers call an effective crime fighting tool.
Civil Rights Activist John Fullinwider of Mother’s Against Police Brutality, is among those pushing for reform to marijuana laws that he believes should not be used as an excuse to conduct searches.
“The job of the police is not to find probable cause to search vehicles and people. The job of the police is to protect public safety,” said Fullinwider.
Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata says bills filed in the state legislature to decriminalize marijuana could take away an effective crime fighting tool.
“I just don’t know where we’re going to be able to draw that line. It is going to hamper investigations that officers are able to conduct out in the field.” said Mata.
Before the session opens on Tuesday, January 8, three civil rights organizations will stage what they call Million MarchTexas to promote their agenda that will face a tough battle in the conservative legislature.