Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, 18 protesters cited at SB 4 sit-in

A group of 18 SB4 protesters, including an Austin city councilman, were cited Monday evening after a sit-in at the state insurance building. (Photo: CBS Austin/Camila Bernal)

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and 18 protesters were handcuffed and cited Monday evening after they refused to leave a state office building as they protested SB 4.

The group had met at the building earlier Monday afternoon as they protested Senate Bill 4, commonly referred to as the Sanctuary Cities Bill. Protesters were attempting to convince Governor Greg Abbott to veto the bill. The building houses offices for the Governor.

At 5 p.m., the group was warned the building would be closing and were asked to leave but protesters insisted on staying, saying they preferred to be arrested. Texas DPS Troopers were on scene and a Justice of the Peace was called in to assist with the citations of the group. All protesters were cited with a Class B misdemeanor of Criminal Trespass. They were released after their citations were given. DPS warned the group they'd be arrested if they didn't leave after.

As CBS Austin has reported, SB 4 received final approval from the Texas House of Representatives and is one step closer to becoming law.

The bill did not make it out of the House without picking up a series of amendments. Amendments added to the bill in the House include criminal penalties for elected officials who violate SB 4 and civil penalties for jurisdictions that violate the bill. SB 4 would not be enforced in churches or public health entities but it would be enforced on college campuses and in homeless and domestic violence shelters.

Next, the bill heads back to the Senate to see if they will accept it with the 18 amendments the House added. If not they will go to conference. If so, the bill heads to the governor's desk.

Monday night, Councilman Greg Casar said he, along with other protesters were arrested because they "had woken up with their minds set on freedom".

His statement follows: