HB 27

86(R) - 2019
House Criminal Jurisprudence
House Criminal Jurisprudence
Criminal Procedure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Ramon Romero Jr.

Bill Caption

Relating to increasing the criminal penalty for assault or aggravated assault of a federal law enforcement officer.

Fiscal Notes

From the Legislative Budget Board: The fiscal impact of implementing the bill is indeterminate due to the lack of data or information that would allow the number of cases in which the victim of assault or aggravated assault was a federal law enforcement officer to be identified from all other assault or aggravate assault cases. These data are necessary to estimate the fiscal impact of the bill's enhancement provision.

Bill Analysis

HB 27 would increase the penalties for assault and aggravated assault on a federal law enforcement officer provided certain conditions are met. Under certain circumstances, an assault penalty would be elevated from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Third Degree Felony and aggravated assault would be elevated from a Second Degree Felony to a First Degree Felony. For the penalty enhancement to apply, the defendant would have to have known the individual was a federal officer and the assaulted officer would have to have been lawfully discharging their duties at the time of the assault, or the assault would have to have been committed in retaliation for the officer's exercise of official power or duty. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Although we are generally wary of penalty enhancements for special groups of people, this bill merely makes protection for federal officers more in alignment with protection for other public officials. We are pleased that this bill provides mens rea protection requiring knowledge of the victim's status as a federal law enforcement officer in order for the penalty enhancement to apply. Ultimately, this is a policy decision for the legislature which strikes an appropriate balance but it does not appear to have a connection to our liberty principles. Therefore, we remain neutral on HB 27.