HB 822

84(R) - 2015
House Defense & Veterans' Affairs
House Defense & Veterans' Affairs

Companion Bill

SB 835

Vote Recommendation

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


Kenneth Sheets

Bill Caption

Relating to increasing the punishment for the offense of fraudulent or fictitious military record.

Fiscal Notes

No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated. 

Bill Analysis

The bill would amend the Penal Code to reclassify offenses under Chapter 32.54, Penal Code, from a Class C misdemeanor to Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $4,000,confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year, or both.

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill makes lying about your military record to the legal liability equivalent to pimping, prostitution, and abuse of a corpse. 

While we agree that lying about military status in order to gain veterans benefits or merely to elevate ones social status is reprehensible, we cannot agree that it should lead to the same level of criminal liability as some of the other Class A Misdemeanors we mentioned aboveBecause this legislation would make the punishment substantially disproportionate to the crime, this legislation is an example of overcriminalization.  

Those who lie about their military record  are already subject to a Class C Misdemeanor which is proportional to the crime; they do not need to be compared to sexual predators. In addition to the issues raised above, there are current statues in place that make it illegal for anyone accepting monies or benefits fraudulently, which is a scalable offense that carries substantial legal ramifications on its own.

Finally, we note that while we opposed the identical companion bill in the Senate (SB 835), that bill was amended on the floor to moderate the penalty escalation so that it would increase from a Class C to a Class B misdemeanor instead of all the way to Class A. If members of the House feel strongly that this bill should move forward we would recommend either moving SB 835 in lieu or amending HB 822 to match the amendment adopted in the Senate.