Gov. Abbott ask DPS director to stop new crime lab fee - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Gov. Abbott ask DPS director to stop new crime lab fee

Source: KCBD Source: KCBD
AUSTIN, TX (KCBD) -

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent a letter to Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw asking to retract a July 20 letter in which it was announced fees were to be instated for the use of DPS crime labs.

The original announcement from McCraw made an official mandate to charge law enforcement agencies across the state of Texas for crime lab services and would become effective Sept. 1, according to the Associated Press. Charges would be around $150 for toxicology reviews and around $550 for DNA analysis, which the DPS said is imperative to have because of a lack of funding from the state.

Funds allocated to DPS this year fell short of fully funded by around $11.5 million, according to the AP.

However, Abbott does not think that is a valid enough excuse to start charging news agencies for crime lab usage, according to a letter he sent to McCraw on Friday. 

"Under no circumstances will I allow the 13 crime labs that DPS operates across the state to be underfunded," Abbott wrote in the letter. "However, I firmly believe it is premature to charge a fee at this time."

Abbott cites Rider 58, which according to him, does not allow for DPS to charge any extra fees for crime labs. 

"Rather, the rider appropriates the use of up to $11.5 million in fees collected should DPS decide to charge a fee," Abbot wrote. "The rider also appropriates nearly $63 million in additional money for the operation of the crime lab."

He also assured McCraw that even though it seems there may not be enough funds to pay for DPS crime labs, there are back-up systems to help pay for them. 

RELATED STORY: Officials rush to secure funding after DPS announces fees

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