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Relating to increasing the criminal penalties for certain offenses committed in a disaster area or an evacuated area.
The Legislative Budget Board believes the probable fiscal impact of implementing the bill is indeterminate due to the lack of data or
information related to areas which would be impacted by future disasters or evacuations and the
number of times the punishment would beincreased because the offense occurred in these areas.
HB 1028 would increase the penalty for burglary of coin operated machines, burglary of vehicles, arson and theft if they are committed in a disaster area or evacuated area. Theft would be increased to a first degree felony.
Texas Action supports HB 1028 because it promotes personal responsibility and limited government. A proper function of a limited government is an effective criminal justice system, which includes punishments being proportionate to the crime. Property crimes committed in disaster areas or during evacuations impose a cost upon society and the aggrieved individuals in a time when they are already likely to face significant costs from the natural disaster or evacuation. This makes these crimes more heinous than usual, thus the penalty can proportionately increase as well.