Democratic state Rep. Jasmine Crockett filed more bills in the Texas House this legislative session than any other freshman member. But none of her bills became law.
Crockett represents District 100 in Dallas, and was recently profiled by The Texas Tribune because of her efforts.
Crockett told Texas Standard she came into the session determined to improve police practices in the wake of racial justice protests last summer. She was “willing to fight,” she said, because the issue hit home: an unarmed Black man in her district had been killed by a Department of Public Safety trooper after Gov. Abbott sent troopers to Dallas in 2019.
Instead of tackling problems with policing, she says the Legislature focused on reigning in local jurisdictions that had redirected some police funding toward other programs.
“I made it clear that we’ve not done what we should have been doing this session in the midst of seeing all the protest over the summer,” Crockett said. “We decided that we wanted to attack large cities and large counties where protests took place. We wanted to attack protesters, but we never really wanted to deal with the elephant in the room, which was police reform.”
She believes fellow lawmakers distanced themselves from her, and one even heckled her, because of her unwillingness to “walk on eggshells” about the issue.
“I had been warned by a member of the Calendars Committee that maybe I should be mindful of how often I’m on the back mic. And I don’t remember if it was at that particular moment or different moment where I was heckled a bit from the back and said, ‘Just know, all your bills are dead’ – that was what a Republican member said to me.”
Crockett became disillusioned with the legislative process after her experience this session. She worries the process doesn’t work in its current form.
“I thought at the core of it, regardless of where you stood, that we all were trying to make sure that we write good policy for people, period,” she said. “[But] you know, I seriously question some of the beliefs of my colleagues and their overall intention of being in the house.”
Still, Crockett intends to seek reelection. She believes the changes she wants to see must come from inside the system.
The 87th Legislature isn’t quite over; two special sessions are planned. But Crockett is also preparing her strategy for the 88th Legislature, two years from now.
“I plan to be more aggressive. I plan to study from now until the next session all the rules and pull out all the stops to do whatever it takes to kill as many bad bills as I can,” she said.