Texas Senator Menéndez & Sheriff Salazar Announce Collaboration on New Hate Crime Bill
July 1, 2019 - San Antonio
Article By: William Timmerman - Reporter, SA Sentinel
Speaking exclusively to the San Antonio Sentinel Sunday morning, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and José Menéndez (D - Texas Senate District 26) revealed that they are working together to craft a new piece of legislation which would make hate crimes a chargeable offense in the State of Texas.
Salazar recounted how he created a liaison program when he was elected in order to involve the community and increase representation in the force. “We need to be hiring from that community to learn how to more effectively protect that community,” said Salazar. “I don’t think the state of Texas is doing enough to prevent and address hate crimes, to hold people accountable for hate crimes. Call it what it is from the onset and it’s less apt to fall through the cracks.”
Senator Menéndez echoed Salazar’s sentiments, stating, “We need to be making it a chargeable offense so people understand from the very beginning that it was a hate crime.” He further stated that “it’s used only at sentencing” which obscures the severity of hate crimes as well as causes “unrest” for the survivors and their families that seek justice. When asked about whether there has been any additional support for this proposed bill from other members of the senate, Menéndez enthusiastically described the proposed piece of legislation as “fresh” and “new” and said that they are “happy to work on it for next session.”
The last legislative session (The 86th Legislative Session) just wrapped up on May 27, 2019 after 140 days in-session at the state capitol. The next one is scheduled to begin on Jan 12, 2021, giving Menéndez and Salazar an ample amount of time to work together the new piece of legislation.
Menéndez is a native San Antonian and Central Catholic High School graduate who previously served as Representative for Texas House District 124 and is currently on his fourth year as Texas Senator for District 26. Sheriff Salazar has served as Bexar County Sheriff since 2017 after working with the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) for 23 years.