Mother of Sandra Bland testifies during House committee hearing

Lawmakers consider 'Sandra Bland Act'

AUSTIN - The mother of Sandra Bland traveled to the Texas Capitol to call on lawmakers to pass a bill aimed at reforming the state's the criminal justice system.

Geneva Reed-Veal was speaking in favor of House Bill 2702, named the Sandra Bland Act, by Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston). 

The bill will require law enforcement officers to undergo more training, including training on interacting with people with mental illnesses, as well as training on racial biases. It also bans pre-text or investigatory traffic stops and wouldn't allow officers to arrest people for offenses that aren't punishable by jail time, such as traffic violations.

The bill also makes several changes to county jail procedures, including making sure people get their medications and don't lose Medicaid after being in jail. It would also divert people with mental illnesses to facilities instead of jail.

"Allow me to be able to stand with you and say we made change," Reed-Veal told lawmakers. "This is not about anti-police. I have never said that and I'm saying it for the record today. I don't hate police. I hate the fact that we don't understand that this has been going on for too long."

Coleman said he plans to continue working with stakeholders on the bill and will present a committee substitute. The bill was left pending in committee.
 

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