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How a meeting for lunch led to legislation between a Texas Democrat and Republican

“We’ve just really been working together,” said Rep. Carl Sherman, D-DeSoto. "It was really just about hearing one another, and I think that’s missing in politics.”

DALLAS — State Representative Carl Sherman, Sr. said he thinks politics are dangerously close to the point of no return, with lawmakers on different teams no longer trying to work together for a common good.

So, he’s trying to pull politics back from the brink, one meal at a time.

The Dallas County Democrat contacted state Representative Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, and asked him to start having breakfast and lunch together. The Dallas Morning News first reported the friendship that both men nurtured outside the House chamber.

Rep. Sherman said his colleague from across the ideological aisle was more than willing to sit down and get to know one another better. In fact, their friendship has led directly to co-authoring legislation.

“We’ve just really been working together,” Rep. Sherman said on Sunday’s Inside Texas Politics. “From a political perspective, we have joint authored two bills together and I’m really excited about that. And that wasn’t the aim. It was really just about hearing one another, and I think that’s missing in politics.”

One of those bills is House Bill 929, also known as The Botham Jean Act or “Bo’s Law,” recently introduced in the House.

“I am extremely optimistic that the bill will pass,” the Democrat said on the television program.

The bill number itself [929] is significant, Sherman explained, as it is actually Botham Jean’s birthday. 

The young accountant and worship leader was killed in his own home by former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger in September 2018. 

Guyger claimed she thought she was entering her own apartment at the time when she shot him. She was convicted of murder in 2019 but is currently appealing the verdict. 

Under Texas law, the Castle Doctrine allows someone to use deadly force to protect their home, car or business. Guyger's attorneys argued her actions should have been covered under it since she believed she was in her home.

Rep. Sherman said his legislation would strengthen and clarify the Castle Doctrine and make it an offense for police officers to turn off body cameras during an investigation.

“It is important to me, it was also important to my joint authors like Matt Krause and Representative Jacey Jetton, both Republicans, that we ensure that law enforcement maintains the integrity that we should have and have the unedited, unredacted full investigation of what actually transpired.”

That is critically important, Rep. Sherman said, to strengthening the bond between community and police.