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Relating to enhancing the criminal penalties for certain repeat and habitual offenders.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1509 would create a new habitual offender sentencing enhancement for Class A misdemeanors, elevating a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony if the defendant has been convicted four or more times of any Class A misdemeanor or felony within the prior 10 years. At least one of the prior convictions would have to have been a felony of some degree for the enhancement to apply. A conviction under this new enhancement would not qualify as a felony conviction for future habitual offender felony sentencing enhancements.
HB 1509 would also require community supervision in cases when a person is convicted of certain Class A misdemeanor drug possession offenses under the new sentencing enhancement.
Texas Action opposes HB 1509 because it violates the principle of limited government and individual liberty. Habitual offender enhancements cause offenders to suffer a loss of freedom more severe than the individual offense they have committed and unnecessarily increase spending on incarceration. HB 1509's creation of a new sentencing enhancement would move in the wrong direction on this issue.