AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill Friday, May 14, that increases requirements on police officers who are wearing body cameras.
The measure, known as the Botham Jean Act, now goes to the Senate.READ MORE: Cameron Lavon Stephens, 18, Charged With Murder In Fatal Shooting Of Arlington Teen At Hurricane Harbor
North Texas Democratic State Representative Carl Sherman Sr. got the legislation across the initial finish line before a midnight deadline to get House bills passed.
It requires law enforcement officers equipped with body-warn cameras to keep them activated the entire time they’re taking part in investigations and it limits the times they can stop the recordings.
While there was bipartisan support, lawmakers on both sides of the issue debated the measure.
Democrat Ann Johnson of Houston said, “Those hours of body camera video give us a chance to not only protect the accused, but also to protect law enforcement.”
But Republican Matt Schaefer of Tyler expressed concern. “The language in this bill I think creates a duty upon our officers that is open-ended and is not the clarity we need and for those reasons, I will be opposing the bill.”READ MORE: Austin Police Arrest, Charge 19-Year-Old With Murder For 6th Street Mass Shooting
The bill is named after Botham Jean, who was shot and killed in Dallas by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger three years ago.
Representative Sherman said he worked with law enforcement on the legislation. “It was important that we have the Texas Association of Sheriffs actually draft this piece of legislation with us. It’s important that we create systemic accountability in policing.”
Two bills that have generated controversy are making their way through the legislature as well. After the House made amendments to an elections security bill, it will go back to the Senate, which will either accept the changes or lawmakers from both chambers will have to hash out their differences.
The House and Senate are now negotiating differences in their respective permit-less carry bills that would allow law-abiding Texans to carry handguns without a required license or training.MORE NEWS: Vice President Harris On Her Way To Texas For Visit To US-Mexico Border
In tweets, both the Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House vowed to get the bill to the Governor.