Landgraf Files Bill to Enhance Penalties for Rioting, Preserve First Amendment Freedoms

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) filed House Bill 2461 to crack down on criminal rioters while protecting the constitutional rights of lawful protestors.

“Our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble must be preserved and protected,” Landgraf said. “HB 2461 will protect the ability of Texans to exercise their constitutional rights by properly punishing those who seek to take advantage of peaceful protests through violence, looting and intimidation.”

Widespread reports of individuals traveling from state to state to incite violence and looting during peaceful protests have motivated Landgraf and other state leaders, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, to find solutions to deter such behavior and preserve the peace.

“Anyone who participates in violent riots should be held accountable for their actions. This legislation will help ensure that alleged rioters from out of state face the same standards of justice as those who call Texas home. I applaud Representative Landgraf for taking action to keep Texas a law-and-order state and I look forward to working with the Legislature to get this bill to my desk,” Governor Abbott said.

House Bill 2461 would amend Texas law to deny bail for anyone arrested for a criminal offense committed during a riot until the person makes the first official court appearance before the judge that will hear the case. House Bill 2461 also increases penalties for crimes committed during a riot, such as assault, arson or robbery.

“I’m thankful for Governor Abbott’s support of this important endeavor to preserve and protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans. Those who seek to upend our constitutional republic by spreading chaos and anarchy will be met with firm resistance in the Lone Star State,” Landgraf concluded.

The 87th Texas Legislative Session began in January and is underway through May 31st, 2021. In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the state legislature meets for a 140-day regular session every odd-numbered year to vote on legislation and pass a balanced state budget.