Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
HB 3291, if passed, would modify the Natural Resources Code (Section 85.389) and the Penal Code (Section 31.03) by increasing the punishment for certain offenses related to the oil and gas industries, namely by adding a new offense and elevating the penalties for certain existing offenses. One change would be made to the Natural Resources Code, and two changes would be made to the Penal Code.
The addition to the Natural Resources Code is as follows:
The additions to the Penal Code is as follows:
Law enforcement is clearly a legitimate function of government. People involved in this kind of crime are generally involved in sophisticated criminal activity. This is not the type of thing a person stumbles into unknowingly. The current penalty structure is appropriately stiff. This legislation increases penalties in our view to a level that in some circumstances would be disproportionate to the crime. It is a clear case of overcriminalization to punish a person for up to 99 years in prison for a theft valued at $10,000.
The general aims of this bill are consistent with the legitimate law enforcement role of government. However, we recommend that it be amended to set the first degree felony threshold for theft by an employee under this section at $100,000; and the threshold for a Class B felony, or if the actor is an employee of the company, at $10,000. Such an amendment would keep the punishments proposed under this section proportional to the crimes committed.