HB 1494

83(R) - 2013
Agriculture & Livestock

Vote Recommendation

Vote No; Amend
  • Negative
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Negative


Tracy King

Bill Caption

Relating to certain regulatory programs administered by the Department of Agriculture.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated

Bill Analysis

Summary: Among other minor changes, the legislation:

  • Creates a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year in jail) for violating a cease and desist order from the Texas Agriculture Commission and a third degree felony (up to 10 years in prison for repeated violations)
  • Enhances from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor, and enhances to a Class A misdemeanor if the person has been previously convicted of any of the offenses, offenses relating to the sale of commodities by net weight, standard fill and quantity labeling for commodities in package form, use of an incorrect weighing or measuring device, and testing of a package by the TDA.
  • Raises cap on fine for weights and measures violation from $500 to $10,000
  • Creates licensing scheme for service technicians and service companies that maintain agricultural devices and imposes a Class B misdemeanor for not having a license or violating rules, which is enhanced to a Class A for a subsequent conviction.
  • Requires more frequent renewal of private pesticide applicator license

Analysis: HB 1494 is somewhat of a mixed bag. There are some provisions we support, including repealing Class C offenses and making Civil Violations out of infractions related to standard weights, measures, and containers and clarifying that a person must knowingly use incorrect weighing device for it to be an offense.

However, this legislation also creates new licensing requirements, increases the frequency of license renewals, substantially increases penalties by as much as 20 times the current amount, and creates a new Class A misdemeanor offense. These provisions constitute an onerous expansion of government. On balance, the government expanding provisions of this bill outweigh the government limiting provisions.

We recommend legislators oppose HB 1494 as it is currently written. We would support an amended version of this legislation that does not create a new Class A misdemeanor, removes the increased penalties, eliminates language that establishes license periods by rule and not statute, and does not make licensing requirements more onerous.