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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would allow any employee of a school district or an open-enrollment charter school who witnessed a crime at the school to report the crime to any peace officer with authority to investigate the crime. School districts and charter schools would be prohibited from adopting policies that required employees to refrain from reporting a crime or requiring that a crime witnessed at school be reported only to certain persons or peace officers.
The bill would amend Section 39.06(a), Penal Code, dealing with misuse of official information. Under current law,a public servant, including a principal of a school,commits an offense if he or she coerces another into suppressing or failing to report information to a law enforcement agency. The bill would clarify that the provision extends to any school administrator.
Local Government Impact:
The bill would modify a Class C misdemeanor. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $500. Costs associated with enforcement and prosecution could likely be absorbed within existing resources. Revenue gain from fines imposed and collected is not anticipated to have a significant fiscal impact. In addition to the fine, punishment can include up to 180 days of deferred disposition.
No fiscal implication to local schools districts are anticipated
This legislation promotes personal responsibility. Teachers and other school employees should not have to wonder whether it is permissible to report a crime they may have witnessed. Having a uniform policy that permits school employees to report crimes will clear up confusion that may exist and enable teachers in school districts that may have stringent reporting requirements to exercise their best judgment about reporting a crime. For these reasons we support HB 1783 under our personal responsibility principle.
The second chamber sponsor is Senator Menéndez.