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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would amend the Business and Commerce Code to clarify certain definitions and enforcement duties related to deceptive trade practices. The Office of the Attorney General indicated the costs associated with implementation of the bill could be absorbed with existing resources.
Local Government Impact
There may be administrative costs to units of local government; however, fiscal impact would vary depending on the number of actions brought by district,county, or city attorneys. According to the provisions of the bill,a certain portion of any penalty recovered would be deposited in the general fund of the county or municipality in which the violation occurred. There may be a positive fiscal impact to local governments; however, fiscal impact will vary depending on the number of actions brought and cannot be determined.
This bill would enhance the penalty for something that is already considered fraud and already has a sufficient penalty proscribed under law. Making fraudulent real estate or stock transactions makes a person liable to the person defrauded for exemplary damages and liable to the person defrauded for "reasonable and necessary attorney's fees, expert witness fees, costs for copies of depositions, and costs of court." The current statute sufficiently provides for the victim of this type of fraud to be made whole and the penalty is sufficient enough to prevent most reasonable people from becoming repeat offenders.
The bill would also create a financial incentive for local governments to go out and prosecute these types of offenses since 75 percent of any penalty would go to the general fund of the county or municipality in which the violation occurred. The purpose of the justice system is to provide justice for wrongdoers and restoration to the extent possible for victims, not to create revenue streams for various units of government.
HB 2590 would violate our limited government principle by expanding the scope of government and engaging in overcriminalization. For this reason we oppose HB 2590.
Second chamber sponsor is Senator West.