Austin, Texas
August 24, 2021

Honorable Trent Ashby, Chair, House Committee on Constitutional Rights & Remedies, Select
Jerry McGinty, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB1 by Hughes (relating to election integrity and security, including by preventing fraud in the conduct of elections in this state; increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses.), Committee Report 2nd House, Substituted

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

This bill would amend the Election Code relating to voter registration, poll watchers, certain procedural requirements for state and county election officers, and voting by mail.  It would increase criminal penalties for certain election offenses.  It would require a voter registrar to provide notice of unlawful voting or registration to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Secretary of State (SOS).

According to the Office of Court Administration, the bill imposes criminal penalties upon conduct which is not currently illegal and enhances penalties on pre-existing crimes which may increase criminal caseloads before the courts. However, due to the deterrent effect of the new laws, it is not anticipated caseloads will increase significantly and no significant fiscal impact to the state court system is anticipated.

According to the OAG, the office anticipates an increase in cases as a result of the passage of this bill; however, the office assumes that any legal work resulting from the passage of this bill could be reasonably absorbed with current resources.

According to the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the extent to which creating a new offense or expanding an existing offense would impact state revenue cannot be estimated.

According to SOS, no significant fiscal impact to the state is anticipated.

This analysis assumes implementing the provisions of the bill addressing felony sanctions for criminal offenses would not result in a significant impact on state correctional agencies.

Local Government Impact

According to the Texas Association of Counties, the bill is not anticipated to have a significant fiscal impact on county election officials and election administrators.

According to the Election Administrators for Williamson and Chambers counties, the estimated fiscal impact of the bill would be $10,000 and $1,000, respectively, for the cost of replacing ballot-by-mail applications and carrier envelopes.

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $4,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year, or both. Costs associated with enforcement, prosecution and confinement could likely be absorbed within existing resources. Revenue gain from fines imposed and collected is not anticipated to have a significant fiscal implication.

Source Agencies:
212 Office of Court Admin, 302 Office of the Attorney General, 304 Comptroller of Public Accounts, 307 Secretary of State
LBB Staff: