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Sanctuary City Bills Voted From Committee

By Laura Nicholes
TAC Legislative Staff

The House State Affairs voted HB 12, as substituted, favorably from committee on March 14. This bill prohibits a county from receiving state grant funds if the county adopts a rule, order, ordinance or policy under which the county prohibits the enforcement of immigration laws or, by consistent actions, prohibits the enforcement of these laws.

The substitute bill removes school districts, open-charter enrollment schools and junior college districts from a potential loss of funding if they have policies prohibiting the enforcement of state or federal laws relating to immigrants or immigration. The substitute also removes the governor’s authority to issue uniform guidelines among state agencies for implementing the withholding of state grant funds to entities which do not comply. A provision was also added to allow citizens living in a jurisdiction to file a complaint with the attorney general if they believe the jurisdiction has a policy contrary to the enforcement of state and federal immigration laws; the bill as originally filed permitted the attorney general to initiate a writ of mandamus to compel an entity to enforce the laws.

Also voted favorably from House State Affairs on March 9 was a substitute to HB 183 by Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton). As filed, HB 183 mandates that a law enforcement agency verify the immigration status of any person it arrests within 48 hours and before that person is released on bond. The committee substitute differs from the original by applying the requirements only to a law enforcement agency that has custody of an arrested person, rather than a law enforcement agency that arrests the person.

The substitute also differs from the original by requiring the law enforcement agency to request information regarding an arrested person's immigration status, rather than requiring the agency to have the immigration status verified. Additionally, the substitute requires the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be notified that the person is in the custody of the law enforcement agency if the information received reveals certain facts regarding the person's immigration status; the original bill required the law enforcement agency to notify ICE of the results of a verification if ICE did not already have the results.