We have an opportunity to make a real difference. A Texas State Senator filed a bill for the state’s 2017 legislative session that would put an end to the state’s current system of civil asset forfeiture, and we want to ensure that this bill becomes law.
Senator Konni Burton’s (R-Fort Worth) bill, if passed, will reform Texas law by requiring a criminal conviction before the state is allowed to seize assets. Currently, Texas can seize assets of people who are never arrested, let alone found guilty, of a criminal infraction.
Additionally, the bill would prohibit law enforcement agencies from retaining the proceeds of seized property. As the law currently stands, up to 70% of the value of seized assets are retained by law enforcement.
State and local law enforcement agencies generally get around state restrictions by working with federal authorities, which allow “cooperating” state and local agencies to take up to an 80% cut under the federal Equitable Sharing forfeiture program. To combat this, the proposed legislation bars state and local agencies from passing cases off to federal authorities in the interest of seizing valuable property.
This proposed legislation would be a major blow to the “policing for profit” industry in which police departments are incentivized to use any excuse available to seize and sell people’s property without any sort of due process.
My friends at the Stonegait Institute are fighting to make sure that this bill becomes law, but they cannot do it without your support. If we can raise $2,000, we can fight a coordinated campaign to make sure the Texas legislature cannot ignore this issue and, with the help of dedicated volunteers, see the beginning of the end of policing for profit.
This will undoubtedly be an uphill battle, as greedy officials will do anything in their power to keep their hands in our wallets, but we can make our mark by showing our elected leaders that they are accountable to us, not the other way around.
Let us know in the form to the left that you stand with us in this fight!
Your friend in liberty,
P.S. Contributions will be used to push the message out in Texas and around the country!