HBA-AMW H.B. 631 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 631 By: Turner, Sylvester Environmental Regulation 7/19/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Illegal dumping, or the disposal of litter and solid waste in an unpermitted area, raises concerns regarding risks to public health and safety, decreasing property values, and diminishing quality of life. Although penalties existed prior to the 77th Legislature for those convicted of illegal dumping, several communities in Texas had witnessed an increase in illegal dumping. House Bill 631 decreases the minimum weights of litter or other solid waste used to determine whether an act constitutes an illegal dumping offense and authorizes the prosecution of a misdemeanor offense without alleging or proving any culpable mental state. 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 631 amends the Health and Safety Code to increase the penalties for illegal dumping. The bill modifies the standards for misdemeanor offenses by decreasing the weight and volume limitations for litter or other solid waste that is illegally dumped. The bill provides that illegal dumping is a state jail felony if the litter or solid waste that is illegally dumped weighs 1,000 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more, is disposed of for a commercial purpose and weighs 200 pounds or more or has a volume of 200 cubic feet or more, or is contained in a closed barrel or drum. The bill specifies that a generator of solid waste creates a rebuttable presumption of lack of culpable mental state if the generator secures, prior to the hauler's receipt of the solid waste, a signed statement from the hauler that the solid waste will be disposed of legally. The bill requires the statement to include the hauler's valid Texas driver's license number. The bill also authorizes prosecution of an illegal dumping misdemeanor offense without alleging or proving any culpable mental state, unless the offense is a state jail felony. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.