Commissioners narrowly pass anti-hate resolution | News – Fort Bend Herald

Posted By on August 2, 2020

Fort Bend County commissioners voted to approve an anti-hate resolution, but like almost everything else dealing with COVID-19, the vote was split across party lines.

The resolution was approved with a 3-2 vote, with the two Republican commissioners voting against it because they feel the non-binding document puts a chilling effect on free speech.

This resolution goes well beyond state and federal law, Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers said. It is an attack on the freedom of speech.

County Judge KP George created the resolution after he published several Facebook comments that used racial tropes of his Indian heritage to criticize his response to the coronavirus.

The resolution also dealt with hate against Asian communities, which have been on the rise across the country since March.

Unfortunately not only are our communities fighting back against the highly contagious and invisible COVID-19 virus, but we are pushing back against an increase of hate, xenophobia, and scare tactics against certain members of our community, George said in a prepared statement that was sent out while the commissioners court meeting was still in progress.

These acts have to stop, they are destructive to our community and are not welcomed in Fort Bend County.

But the controversial part of the resolution states that, Fort Bend County will continue its efforts to protect residents and targets and victims of hate, and to investigate, prosecute and curb hate acts related to COVID-19 in partnership with nonprofit organizations, the Fort Bend County District Attorneys Office, the Fort Bend County Sherriffs Department and all other law enforcement partners.

Meyers and Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales felt that phrase was against the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it considers hate speech to be free speech, while the resolution looks to prosecute hate speech.

Both Morales and Meyers stated several times that they are against racism and would support a resolution against racism that didnt attack free speech.

I can support a resolution against hate, but not something that creates division, Morales said. I can see us coming together on a resolution, but not this one.

George, joined by fellow Democrats in Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken DeMerchant and Precinct 2 Grady Prestage, passed the resolution.

The Anti-Defamation League praised George and the commissioners for standing up to hate while dealing with the coronavirus.

We are pleased Judge George and Fort Bend County Commissioners, while in the midst of protecting the county from the pandemic, took the time to condemn coronavirus-related hate and promote respect for all their citizens, ADL Southwest Regional Director Mark Toubin said. Fort Bend Countys leadership understands that the effort to contain COVID-19 requires that its residents be safe from hate as well as the disease.

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Commissioners narrowly pass anti-hate resolution | News - Fort Bend Herald

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