Gov. Abbott signs key bills, including Sandra Bland Act, before special session

One of the bills includes the Sandra Bland Act, which would help defendants with mental illnesses receive treatment.

AUSTIN - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has until Sunday to sign or veto bills passed by the state legislature. This week, the governor signed several bills and vetoed approximately fifty more.

Three of the more controversial bills include the Sandra Bland Act, a bill aimed at ending "lunch shaming" and a bill that would allow adoption agencies to deny adoption based on religious reasons.

In 2015, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was pulled over in Waller County for failing to signal, she was taken out of her car by a state trooper and arrested for allegedly assaulting him. Three days later, Bland was found hanging in her jail cell, and her death was ruled a suicide.

"If you don't remember one other word that I speak, I want you to remember this: When you deny someone their liberty, you have a responsibility to provide for the safety and welfare of that person," said Texas Sen. John Whitmire.

Bland's death sparked lawmakers to change the way mental illnesses are addressed in jails. The new law would change the way jails screen inmates, moving them quickly to mental health facilities. It would also require independent law enforcement agencies to investigate jail deaths.

Abbott also signed a bill that would allow some adoption agencies to deny adoptions based on religious beliefs.

Supporters of the bill said it's a win for religious freedom. Critics believe that it opens the doors for discrimination.

In addition, Abbott signed a bill into law that hopes to end "lunch shaming." The law would give Texas public school students a grace period if they run out of money to pay for their school lunches.

"It is inconceivable that children all over Texas who go to the cafeterias and discover that they have no money in their accounts have their hot lunches taken away and thrown in the trash," said Rep. Helen Giddings.

© 2017 KENS-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment