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We oppose this bill as an unnecessary growth of government with likely overcriminalization implications. Our three main objections to the bill are:
1. Theft is already a crime under the 31.03 of the Penal Code. There is no need to create a new offense and penalty ladder for something that is already illegal and fully punishable under current law.
2. HB 102 would create a vague and overly broad law based on the legal definitions of the terms "cargo", "goods", and "vehicle" as described in the bill and in sections of current statute cited in the bill. This could create a situation where a local delivery driver who steals or facilitates the theft of items of minimal value would be liable for a penalty starting at the state jail felony level. Currently theft is a state jail felony if the value is $1,200 or greater up to the value that confers the next level of penalty. This bill sets the state jail felony for cargo theft at any value under $10,0000 which would include values under $1,200. Laws that are overly broad or set penalties that are disproportionate to the crime are clear cases of overcriminalization.
3. This bill would not recognize entrapment as a defense to prosecution. Entrapment laws are well-established due process protections at the state and federal level. Violating due process in this way is inconsistent with limited government and individual liberty.
For these reasons we oppose this well-intentioned but ill-advised legislation.