SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — The City Council discussed a new state law that would delete juvenile curfews across the state of Texas, concerned that it would raise crime rates across the city.
During the September 19 City Council meeting, City Council members agreed to delete the juvenile curfew from San Angelo’s Code of Ordinances after the passage of House Bill No. 1819, which came into effect on September 1.
City Council Member Larry Miller pulled the item from the consent agenda for further discussion during the October 3 City Council Meeting.
“I believe it’s atrocious what they are doing,” said Miller. “It’s a legislative overreach of the worst kind, if the state can dictate how we in San Angelo control juvenile behavior then the state can do virtually anything it wants and hamper our self-government.”
According to Miller, the state law does nothing to reduce crime and stated that this law “Virtually guarantees a rise in crime rates in San Angelo.” He told the council the law would keep officers from preventing crime before it happens and instead reduce them to investigating the crime after it has occurred.
“Lives will be lost, and lives will be destroyed,” said Miller.
While the City Council disagreed with the deletion of the juvenile curfew, it was concluded that they had to follow suit with Texas law.
“I think that we as a council support those comments and are very concerned about removing that curfew,” said Mayor Brenda Gunter,” but it is state law and we have no authority to enforce a law that the state has mandated over all of our cities.”
The motion for approval of the deletion of the juvenile curfew passed four to three. According to the City Attorney, Theresa James, had the motion not passed, it would have only caused confusion.
“It would cause confusion with our citizens about whether we had a curfew and if we ever did write a citation, it would be immediately dismissed,” said James.
Before House Bill No. 1819, San Angelo’s juveniles had an 11 p.m. weekday curfew and a 12:01 a.m. weekend curfew.