Donation to Travis County to fund programs affected by cuts from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Travis County Stronger Together donated over $100,000 to Travis County June 29 to support the programs defunded by the Office of the Governor.

Travis County Stronger Together donated over $100,000 to Travis County June 29 to support the programs defunded by the Office of the Governor.

A charity founded by Representative Eddie Rodriguez donated $133,000 Thursday morning to fund the county's specialty court, victim services, and juvenile justice programs through November.

Originally funded by grants through the Office of the Governor, the programs were canceled earlier this year by Governor Greg Abbott in response to the county's position and policies regarding immigration and Senate Bill 4.

SB 4, the sanctuary cities bill, was signed into law on May 4. The law allows local law enforcement to question the immigration status of people they legally detain or arrest and threatens to punish cities and government officials who fail to comply with the law.

Rodriguez started the Travis County #StrongerTogether nonprofit in February as a way to help Travis County make up for the shortfall caused by Abbot's cuts. Most of the fund was derived from small donations averaging $25.

"Several of my constituents called my office asking if there was something they could do to help," Rodriguez said. "After meeting with my staff we came up with Travis County #StrongerTogether and partnered up with the wonderful folks at the Austin Community Foundation to create a fund where we could all do our part to take care of our own and those who lost critical services through no fault of their own."

Senator Kirk Watson thanked Rodriguez for launching the program and County Judge Sarah Eckhardt for maintaining a steady work ethic to solve the issue.

"Once again, our community has stepped up when the state of Texas refused to take care of its people," Watson said. "I'm proud Austin and Travis County have taken a stand against Senate Bill 4... I know that we are on the right side of history and I also believe that we are on the right side of the law."

Eckhardt spoke on behalf of the county and expressed her gratitude for the funding.

"Through [Travis County] #StrongerTogether we have found a way to sustain these efficient, effective and bare justice programs that Travis County has been building over the years, even decades, to keep our community safe and indeed it shows that it works. We are one of the safest communities in the state of Texas."

Travis County Court at Law Judge Mike Denton also announced the Veterans Court was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Texas Veterans Commissioner to fund counseling services and assess substance abuse issues.

"We help young men and women leave a life that is almost unimaginable to most of us here today and this money really will go a long way," Denton said.

The county is working to identify a long-term revenue source for these programs and hopes to have a solution by Nov. 15. Travis County #StrongerTogether will continue to accept donations as well.

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