HBA-NMO H.B. 2738 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2738 By: Williams Criminal Jurisprudence 4/15/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current law authorizes the court to make an affirmative finding that an offense was committed because of the defendant's bias or prejudice against a group. The law authorizes the use of the affirmative finding during the punishment phase of the trial to increase the punishment for certain offenses to the punishment prescribed for the next highest offense. The law, however, does not authorize the use of such an affirmative finding to punish a felony of the first degree as a capital offense. H.B. 2738 provides that a person commits capital murder if the person murders an individual selected because of the actor's bias or prejudice against a group. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 19.03(a), Penal Code, to provide that a person commits capital murder if the person murders an individual selected because of the actor's bias or prejudice against a group. SECTION 2. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.