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HB 2311, if passed, would modify the Agriculture Code (Section 161.041) to enlarge the circumstances under which one can be considered to have committed a criminal offense. Currently, one can be imposed a criminal penalty if one knowingly fails to handle diseased livestock or fowl in accordance with rules adopted by the Texas Animal Health Commission. (The specific diseases in question are listed in the code.)
HB 2311 would also make it an offense to handle livestock or fowl if, the Commission has notified the individual that a given animal was exposed to a set disease, or if given livestock or fowl is moved when movement has been restricted by the Commission.
Although HB 2311 expands the number of activities which may be considered an offense, this expansion is balanced by the fact that the offense has to be committed willingly; it must be shown that the individual in question was notified by the commission, and, that the control of diseased livestock is a legitimate public health and safety concern which may be executed by the state. Despite being reasonable public policy, HB 2311 does not positively affect our principles and as such we are neutral on HB 2311.