HB 683

85(R) - 2017
House Homeland Security & Public Safety
Senate Criminal Justice
House Homeland Security & Public Safety
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Procedure
Law Enforcement

Vote Recommendation

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


Gene Wu


Jose Menendez

Bill Caption

Relating to the creation of the offense of possession or use of law enforcement identification, insignia, or vehicles in certain populous municipalities and the clarification of the offenses of false identification as a peace officer and misrepresentation of property.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

Current law brackets this bill to the Houston area where it is an offense to use, possess, or wear certain items that would falsely lead others to believe that they are employed with a law enforcement agency throughout the state. This bill expand this prohibition to any municipality in the state. It would also make it illegal to make, provide, or possess a vehicle that bears an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identifies a person as a peace officer. Per this bill, an item bearing a law enforcement insignia includes items that contain the word police, sheriff, trooper, and agent, or any other words used by law enforcement in this state.

Vote Recommendation Notes

We do not take issue with having laws against falsely posing as a law enforcement officer. It is easily foreseeable that a person impersonating a law enforcement officer could take unfair advantage of people's general respect for law enforcement to gain personal advantage or worse.

However the content of this bill as it appears on second reading would unnecessarily restrict items that are otherwise lawful to own and possess. Provisions of this bill is are vague and could be liberally interpreted to ban things that are not meant to be banned such as Halloween costumes, generic t-shirts, numerable common childrens' toys, or even stickers that law enforcement agencies routinely give out to children. In fact, the underlying statute even absent this bill is already too vague.

For these reasons we oppose this bill as it appears on the House floor on second reading and recommend that the it be amended to include strong mens rea protection. With the adoption of such an amendment, which we understand will be offered and is acceptable to the author, we would support HB 685.

Organizations Supporting

Texas Municipal Police Association