By Garcia                                              H.B. No. 172
         76R152 GWK-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the punishment for a capital offense.
 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
 2-1     follows:
 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
 2-5     issue:
 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
2-19     supervision.
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.