By Naishtat H.B. No. 151
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to the punishment for a capital offense.
1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-4 SECTION 1. Section 508.046, Government Code, is amended to
1-5 read as follows:
1-6 Sec. 508.046. EXTRAORDINARY VOTE REQUIRED. To release on
1-7 parole an inmate who was convicted of [
a capital felony or] an
1-8 offense under Section 21.11(a)(1) or 22.021, Penal Code, or who is
1-9 required under Section 508.145(c) to serve 35 calendar years before
1-10 becoming eligible for release on parole, all members of the board
1-11 must vote on the release on parole of the inmate, and at least
1-12 two-thirds of the members must vote in favor of the release on
1-13 parole. A member of the board may not vote on the release unless
1-14 the member first receives a copy of a written report from the
1-15 department on the probability that the inmate would commit an
1-16 offense after being released on parole.
1-17 SECTION 2. Section 508.145(b), Government Code, is amended
1-18 to read as follows:
1-19 (b) An inmate serving a life sentence for a capital felony
1-20 is not eligible for release on parole [ until the actual calendar
1-21 time the inmate has served, without consideration of good conduct
1-22 time, equals 40 calendar years].
1-23 SECTION 3. Section 2, Article 37.071, Code of Criminal
1-24 Procedure, is amended by amending Subsection (e) to read as
2-2 (e)(1) The court shall instruct the jury that if the jury
2-3 returns an affirmative finding to each issue submitted under
2-4 Subsection (b) of this article, it shall answer the following
2-6 Whether, taking into consideration all of the evidence,
2-7 including the circumstances of the offense, the defendant's
2-8 character and background, and the personal moral culpability of the
2-9 defendant, there is a sufficient mitigating circumstance or
2-10 circumstances to warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment
2-11 rather than a death sentence be imposed.
2-12 (2) The court shall charge the jury that if the jury
2-13 returns an affirmative finding on the issue submitted under this
2-14 subsection, the court shall sentence the defendant to confinement
2-15 in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal
2-16 Justice for life. The court shall further charge the jury that a
2-17 defendant sentenced to confinement for life under this article is
2-18 ineligible for release from the department on parole or mandatory
2-20 SECTION 4. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies
2-21 only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this
2-22 Act. For purposes of this section, an offense is committed before
2-23 the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs
2-24 before the effective date.
2-25 (b) An offense committed before the effective date of this
2-26 Act is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed,
2-27 and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
3-1 SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
3-2 SECTION 6. The importance of this legislation and the
3-3 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
3-4 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
3-5 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
3-6 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.