Austin, Texas
April 23, 2017

Honorable Jodie Laubenberg, Chair, House Committee on Elections
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB4133 by Fallon (Relating to investigation and prosecution of certain election offenses; creating an offense; increasing criminal penalties.), As Introduced

The provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions are the subject of this analysis. Under the provisions of the bill, the offenses of false statement on a voter registration application and illegal voting would be expanded and the punishments increased.  These offenses are currently punished at the misdemeanor and felony level and would be enhanced, based on the provisions of the bill, depending upon the specific circumstances of the offense. The bill would also create new offenses for the destruction of election records, obstruction of an election investigation or proceeding, and election fraud.  These offenses would be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the specific circumstances of the offense. 

A first degree felony is punishable by confinement in prison for life or a term from 5 to 99 years;  a second degree felony is punishable by confinement in prison for 2 to 20 years; a third degree felony is punishable by confinement in prison for a term from 2 to 10 years; and a state jail felony is punishable by confinement in a state jail for a term from 180 days to 2 years or Class A misdemeanor punishment. In addition to confinement, most felony offenses are subject to an optional fine not to exceed $10,000.

Increasing penalties, expanding the circumstances for the prosecution of criminal offenses, and creating new criminal offenses are expected to result in increased demands on the correctional resources of the counties or of the State due to longer terms of supervision in the community or longer terms of confinement within state correctional institutions. In fiscal year 2016, fewer than ten individuals were arrested, few than ten were placed under community supervision, and fewer than ten were admitted into state correctional institutions for the election offenses subject to felony enhancement under the provisions of the bill. This analysis assumes the provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions would not result in a significant impact on the demand for state correctional resources.

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