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Dallas Democrat explains proposed changes to ankle monitors in Texas

State Rep. Rafael Anchia says there's a lot more to be done to rework the way ankle monitors are used in Texas.

DALLAS — This week there were several bipartisan proposals from the Texas House and Texas Senate to rework the way ankle monitors are used in the state.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas thinks there’s a lot more to do, including a broader discussion on whether Texas should even use those monitors.

“I don’t think they should be used with respect to violent criminals,” said Anchia told Inside Texas Politics.

Police said a man out on parole for a violent aggravated robbery walked into Methodist Hospital in Dallas with a gun last fall and shot and killed two hospital workers.

The shooter was on an ankle monitor when he shot the health care workers. He’d previously cut one off, but his parole was not revoked.

Anchia filed several bills to criminalize what that suspect is accused of doing.

“I filed a suite of three bills,” said Anchia.

Anchia said there’s bipartisan support for his legislation and similar bills. But, he also asked for a state audit. It will be complete in April, but it’s already revealed big problems.

"This criminal violated his ankle monitor 52 times, the state only investigated 27 of those violations, so there are major gaps – don’t know if it’s ankle monitors or criminal justice system that’s short-staffed, underfunded," he said.

Texas has a $32 billion surplus. And some of that money has been asked to be spent on criminal justice.

"We’ve underfunded our criminal justice system for a long time. That’s a process that’s happening in parallel to these bills that would go through the appropriations process," Anchia said.

But, Anchia also added that what he’s asking for is not really hard.

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