DPS Crime Lab and the State Budget:
Governor Puts a Stop to Unfunded Mandate
This week, Governor Abbott put a stop to what would have been a large unfunded mandate on city police departments that use the state’s crime lab for evidence analysis.
Prior to last session, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) had offered forensic services to local law enforcement agencies at no cost because many cities do not have their own lab or the ability to outsource forensic testing. But then the legislature included a rider in the state budget that would have required cities and counties to begin paying for those forensic services. The rider requires DPS to collect up to $11.5 million in forensic fees from cities and counties beginning September 1, 2017, to cover budget cuts made to the agency.
However, Governor Greg Abbott recently issued a letter to DPS asking them to retract their request to local law enforcement agencies. The letter stated that the governor believed it is “premature to charge a fee at this time.”
League staff will continue to monitor and report on this issue.
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