Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to increasing the criminal penalties for manufacture or delivery of fentanyl and related substances; creating a criminal offense.
Increasing the minimum term of confinement is expected to result in additional demands on correctional resources. The probable fiscal impact of implementing the bill is indeterminate due to the lack of information or data to distinguish manufacture or delivery of fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives cases from all other manufacture or delivery of controlled substances in penalty group one cases. This information is necessary to determine the full extent of the fiscal implications associated with implementing the proposed penalty changes and modifications to community supervision eligibility.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is required to implement this Act only if the legislature appropriates money specifically for that purpose. If the legislature does not appropriate money specifically for that purpose, the department may, but is not required to, implement this Act using other appropriations available for the purpose.
SB 768 would remove fentanyl and derivatives of fentanyl from Penalty Group 1 under the Controlled Substances Act and place them into a newly created Penalty Group 1-B. The penalties for the manufacture or delivery of fentanyl would increase, scaled for volume; penalties for possession would remain the same. If enacted, a defendant would not be eligible for community supervision if they are found to have manufactured or delivered more than four grams. Penalty enhancements would be added under certain conditions.
Texas Action is neutral on SB 768 as it does not appear to affect any of our Liberty Principles. While we are always cautious about increasing penalties which can result in punishment being disproportionate to the offense, that does not appear to be the case here.