Fort Bend County Judge KP George made several headlines this past week as he takes stands against state lawmakers, county commissioners and county law enforcement officers.
George announced that Fort Bend County will not be a part of the Greater Houston Partnership as a sign of protest since the partnership has been silent on the voting laws that passed the Texas Legislature early Friday morning.
On Thursday, George released a statement in support of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hildago, who both also shunned GHP for their non-stance.
“I stand in support of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and city of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in their actions to pull the annual State of the City address from the Greater Houston Partnership over the chamber’s silence on Texas voting bills,” George said in the statement. “The implications of silence on this issue are too consequential and that Hidalgo and Turner have decided to make that clear is admirable.
“Our county had been considering joining the Greater Houston Partnership for some time now, but following their silence on this, we will no longer consider becoming a member organization. Now is the time to take a stand, the eyes of history are indeed upon us now.”
The Texas House passed Senate Bill 7 with an 81-64 vote early Friday morning, and has to pass the state Senate before Gov. Greg Abbott can sign it into law.
Meanwhile, commissioners approved over $157.4 million of federal funds that will help the county in several ways.
But George voted against the budget recommendation that is part of the American Rescue Plan Act because he did not want the commissioners’ court to pick and choose which non-profit charities in the county will get some funds and which ones wouldn’t.
“I believe it should be like our rental assistance program, where the money should be put into a pot and everybody should get a chance to apply for their need and their merit,” George said.
The ARPA is part of a $1.9 trillion plan to provide relief and support to local governments still reeling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. With Fort Bend County receiving $157.4 million from the U.S. government, the budget drafted $27 million for non-profit partnerships, with $3.5 million left outstanding.
But the non-profits who were left out of the budget, including the Child Advocates for Fort Bend, the Parks Youth Ranch and Abigail’s Place, all had representatives speak to the court asking for help.
All four commissioners voted for the budget as is, with Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers saying that the budget can be adjusted after getting more guidance from the Treasury Department in how the funds can be used.
“This is a moving target for us, to say the least,” Meyers said. “So we will make sure to allocate the funding as fairly as we can.”
Also on Tuesday’s court agenda was a body camera policy that laid out procedures for Fort Bend County deputies and constables. But that item was pulled, mostly because some local officers complained to a Houston TV station that the policy was overreach by George and the commissioners.
There is no word on when the body camera policy will be put back on the agenda for a vote.