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Proposition B Fails, San Antonio Police Union Keeps Collective Bargaining Rights

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Police Officer's Assocation President Danny Diaz (left) stands with Alonzo Hardin, president of the San Antonio Black Police Officers Coalition during a press conference outside the union headquarters in Northeast San Antonio

Proposition B fell 2 percentage points short in San Antonio’s municipal elections on Saturday. The San Antonio Police union will keep the right to collectively bargain for a contract, but supporters of Prop B plan to push for a similar ballot measure in November.

Collective bargaining is part of a state law known as Chapter 174. San Antonio voters gave the police union collective bargaining rights in 1974. It means the city and union are required to come to the negotiating table.

Supporters of Prop B gathered to celebrate a hard-fought campaign at the Friendly Spot bar in Southtown on Saturday evening. The initiative was spearheaded by the Fix SAPD group, which collected 20,000 signature to get the measure on the ballot. Its deputy director Ananda Tomas says they will try again in the November city elections — and this time they might target chapter 143.

"It sets limits on how and when you can investigate an officer for misconduct. It restricts access to discipline records. It’s really what’s considered a huge barrier to accountability," said Thomas.

It also would require more petition signatures to get on the ballot — about 80,000, compared to the 20,000 needed for Prop B.

Proposition B would not have defunded or abolished the police. Fix SAPD is not an abolitionist organization, and it has distanced itself from proponents of defunding police. City leaders, including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, pushed back on the idea of defunding the police department in any amount.

Nirenberg believes the growth of the police department budget should not outpace that of other city departments, but that funding for police should increase in perpetuity. He refused to express support for or against Prop B, although he has repeatedly said that the disciplinary process needs to be reformed.

This post will be updated.

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Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony
Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules