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Senate Passes Significant Homeland Security Bill

By Aurora Flores
TAC Legislative Staff

The Texas Senate passed SB 9, which amends current state law to provide for increased border security. Some Texas legislators have argued that the federal government has not done enough to protect Texas’ border, resulting in an overhaul bill being filed at the state level.

This omnibus homeland security bill, authored by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) and passed on Thursday, April 28, includes many significant changes. Those include requiring all law enforcement agencies to adopt Secure Communities, a program where local law enforcement compares fingerprints of those arrested to a Department of Homeland Security database to determine if the individual can be deported. It also increases penalties for a list of felonies.

The legislation codifies proof-of-citizenship requirements for driver’s licenses and state-issued IDs. The amended law would establish an automatic license-plate reader pilot program for vehicles used by DPS officers, and will allow DPS to commission special unit of Texas Rangers to, among other things, conduct background checks, monitor sex offenders and assist during disasters.

SB 9 will now make its way to the House where it will be referred to committee. TAC staff will continue to monitor this and other significant legislation.

For more information, contact Aurora Flores at or (800) 456-5974.