HBA-BSM S.B. 18 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 18 By: Nelson Criminal Jurisprudence 3/18/2001 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, it is a Class B misdemeanor to interrupt an emergency citizens-band communication and a third degree felony to cause or threaten harm to a person who reports a crime. The obstruction of an emergency telephone call being made in any form is a very serious action, but it is not currently prohibited by law. Senate Bill 18 provides that any interference with emergency telephone calls is an offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. 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 Senate Bill 18 amends the Penal Code to provide that an individual commits an offense if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual's ability to place an emergency telephone call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals. The bill also provides that an individual commits an offense if the individual recklessly renders unusable a telephone that would be used for the same purposes. A violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the individual has previously been convicted of this offense. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.