Amid Rise in Crime, Rep. Jon Rosenthal Supports Defunding Police and Turns his Back on House District 135 Voters

While Rosenthal Repeatedly Votes Against Public Safety, HD 135 Candidate Justin Ray has Long History of Funding Police as Jersey Village Mayor

HOUSTON, Texas — A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll shows a vast majority of voters at 75 percent say more police are needed on the street amid concerns over a rise in violent crime nationwide. Meanwhile, Texas House District 135 Representative Jon Rosenthal repeatedly voted against legislation that would bolster support for law enforcement and ensure a safer future for all Texans, despite a rapid increase in crime in Harris County and across the state.

On the other hand, former Jersey Village Mayor and candidate for Texas House District 135 Justin Ray has a long history of funding the local police department and prioritizing public safety.

Ray said, “A public official’s number one job is public safety. When the rubber meets the road, citizens know defunding and demoralizing law enforcement only emboldens the criminals. Yet our State Representative Jon Rosenthal has continued to prove the safety of his constituents is not his priority. In the regular legislative session, Rosenthal voted to support dangerous efforts that would allow Texas cities to defund the police, in addition to voting against legislation that would fix the broken felony bail system which allows violent criminals and repeat offenders back on the streets.

“As Mayor of Jersey Village, I prioritized law enforcement and public safety. Our City increased law enforcement budgets and ensured first responders received the resources needed to protect our community. As State Representative for House District 135, I will continue to put public safety first and make sure Texas remains a law-and-order state.”

Rosenthal Votes Against Public Safety
During the regular legislative session, Rosenthal repeatedly voted against critical measures that would stop Texas cities from defunding the police and enhance penalties for criminal activities that interfere with or harm law enforcement, including:

  • House Bill 9 — enhances the criminal penalty to a state jail felony offense for anyone who knowingly blocks an emergency vehicle or obstructs access to a hospital or health care facility. 
  • House Bill 1900 — freezes property tax revenues for cities with a population over 250,000 that defund the police. Under this law, cities that defund the police will lose their annexation powers for 10 years and any area annexed by a defunding city in the past 30 years can vote to dis-annex from the city. It also allows the State of Texas to withhold sales taxes collected by a defunding city and give it to the Texas Department of Public Safety to pay for the cost of state resources used to protect residents of a defunded municipality. 
  • Senate Bill 23 — requires voter approval to reduce law enforcement budgets in counties with a population of more than one million. If voter approval is not received, but the county still defunds the police, the county’s property tax revenue will be frozen. (Rosenthal originally voted “yes,” but then put a record in the House Journal that he intended to vote “no” on SB 23 instead.)

Before fleeing to Washington, D.C, in May, Rosenthal also voted against House Bill 20, legislation that would fix the broken felony bail system, which Governor Abbott also declared an emergency item earlier this year. Click here for Ray’s statement on bail reform.

Rapid Increase in Crime in Harris County
Since Rosenthal and the Democrats broke quorum on Memorial Day, defendants out of jail on multiple bonds have murdered or killed seven people in Harris County, according to Crime Stoppers of Houston. Additionally, one of the defendants was out on seven felony bonds and one on eight. According to Crime Stoppers, from 2018 through 2020, dangerous criminals – released on multiple felony bonds, personal recognizance (PR) bonds, motion to revoke bond denied, and bond forfeiture – have murdered or killed 127 innocent people in Harris County.

Of those 127 victims:

  • 92 murders have occurred since 2020 (indicating the rapid spike in crime);
  • 16 are domestic violence related;
  • and the racial breakdown of victims includes 67 black, 37 hispanic, 16 white, four “other,” and three unborn. 

Of those defendants charged with the murder, 20 of them were subsequently bonded out again.

Democrat Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg recently testified in front of the Texas Senate Committee on Jurisprudence on the increase in crime statistics in Houston as a direct result of the current bail system. “Judges are supposed to, under the law, consider two essential purposes of bond: the defendant’s return to court to answer the charges, and the community’s safety, and it’s this second public interest that is being failed in Houston under the current bail system,” Ogg said.

According to Ogg, in 2015, about 3,200 offenders out on bond were accused in 6,348 crimes. By 2020, approximately 10,500 individuals on bond were accused of 18,796 new offenses. 


Media Contact: Genevieve Carter, 281-643-0069