Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Due to a lack of reliable data regarding the prevalence of the behaviors considered criminal offenses under the provisions of the bill, there could be an indeterminate fiscal impact to the state.
The bill would amend the Penal Code to create the offense of unlawful dissemination of certain visual material. Under the provisions of the bill, a person commits an offense by intentionally disseminating certain sexual visual material without the consent of the persons included in the visual material. This offense would be punishable as a state jail felony. The bill also provides certain defenses to prosecution from the offense.
Expanding the types of behavior which are considered criminal offenses is expected to result in increased demands upon the correctional resources of the state due to additional persons who may be sentenced to terms of community supervision or confinement in state jail. However, the fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time due to a lack of reliable data regarding the prevalence of the behaviors considered criminal offenses under the provisions of the bill.
Most of what would be created as a new offense under HB 603 already can clearly be prosecuted under sec. 21.15.b.3 of the Penal Code which carries a state jail felony penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and/or up to two years in prison. There is no need to enlarge the statute by creating duplicative laws when the current statute is sufficient.
To the extent that what is commonly known as "revenge porn" may not be prosecutable under current statute, there are other methods of addressing that issue. To that end we supported SB 1135 earlier this session which provides civil remedies to victims and sets a criminal penalty at the Class A misdemeanor level which is still rather substantial but more proportionate to the crime.
For these reasons we oppose HB 603.