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Texas Lawmaker Receiving Death Threats for His Bill That Limits Photographing Cops

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Texas House of Representatives lawmaker Jason Villalba sparked quite a controversy earlier this month after proposing a bill that would make it illegal to photograph a police officer from within 25 feet. People were so angered by the idea that Villalba has received death threats from angry members of the public.

Local ABC station WFAA reports that, despite the threats against his life, Villalba does not plan to kill his bill. Instead, he is planning to “considerably rewrite it.”

People upset at the original bill might not like the upcoming revisions, though. Villalba says he plans to reduce the minimum photography distance from 25 feet to 15 feet, and make the law apply to everyone — including photojournalists.

He says that his goal is to give officers room to do their jobs. “All we’re saying is provide a halo. Give them a little room. We’re not saying don’t film. We’re not saying stop. We’re saying just step back a little bit,” he says.

Villalba is apparently also taking drastic steps to distance himself from his critics. In addition to suspending his professional Facebook page, the representative is also reportedly blocking journalists who ask him questions about the bill on Twitter.

Here are two Tweets that show what happened yesterday when newspaper editor and journalism student Kate Rhoads of Brookhaven Community College Tweeted Villalba a question:

“Not cool, Representative Villalba, not cool at all,” writes the Dallas Observer.


Image credits: Header portrait by BritAE

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