State Sen. Chuck Edwards has introduced Senate Bill 100, the Police Funding Protection Act, which would cause local governments to lose state funding if they transfer more than 1% of current funding from police or sheriff’s departments to social services that would prevent crime. Senate Bill 101 calls for all sheriffs to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, leading to deportations. Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller has pledged not to work with them, which gladdened the hearts of many, including myself, who want to see an end to deportations and a more humane immigration policy.
Following the murders of George Floyd and countless others at the hands of brutal and racist police, we’ve heard calls around the nation to “reimagine the police.” Many cities are now reallocating funds from bloated police departments to underfunded social services that help to alleviate homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse.
For example, in Austin, Texas, the police budget was cut by one-third; $6.5 million of that was spent to purchase a hotel to house 60 homeless people safely with dignity. New York City cut $1 billion from its police department and reinvested $354 million in services for the mentally ill and homeless, as well as for education. In Minneapolis, $8 million was cut from the police budget and invested in mental health crisis response teams and violence prevention.
Services such as these reduce the need for law enforcement, provide humane assistance and improve quality of life for marginalized people. Shouldn’t crime prevention be the goal? Please urge your state senator to vote no on SB 100 and SB 101!
— Cathy Holt