House Bill 9, which makes it a felony to knowingly block emergency vehicles or hospital entrances, is heading to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's desk to be signed into law.
The Texas Senate passed the bill 25-5, which would make it a state jail felony to knowingly prevent an emergency vehicle that flashes light and sirens from passing, as well as blocking licensed hospitals.
Abbott voiced his support for the bill in a tweet Saturday as well as indicated his support for signing, saying "that chaos won't be tolerated in Texas."
"In an emergency, seconds matter," state Rep. Stephanie Klick said when first presenting HB 9. "We all have a constitutional right to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment, but what we don’t have is a right to prevent authorized emergency vehicles that can provide life saving care."
The bill comes in the wake of protests sparked by the George Floyd case last summer, where hundreds in Texas alone were arrested for blocking highways, like the 674 people arrested for marching onto the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas.
In another recent case, two Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton in September 2020, and were transported to a local hospital with severe injuries.
The Los Angeles County Sheriffs wrote on Twitter, "To the protestors blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling 'We hope they die' referring to 2 LA Sheriff's ambushed today in Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL. People's lives are at state when ambulances can't get through."
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