HBA-NMO H.B. 270 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 270 By: Tillery Criminal Jurisprudence 2/24/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, Texas law does not provide a criminal penalty for a witness that fails to report a sexual crime against a child to the proper authorities. The Sherrice Iverson Act, introduced in the 105th Congress of the United States in 1998, requires states to have such a law in effect to be eligible to receive funds under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The Act is named for a seven year old girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered in a Nevada casino. A friend of the assailant witnessed the crime but failed to report it. The witness could not be charged because Nevada law had no specific provision which required the witness to report the crime. H.B. 270 provides a criminal penalty for a person who fails to report the commission of certain sexual crimes against a child to a law enforcement agency or peace officer. 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 Chapter 38, Penal Code, by adding Section 38.17, as follows: Sec. 38.17. FAILURE TO REPORT OFFENSE AGAINST CHILD. (a) Provides that a person commits an offense if the person is present during the commission of an offense under Section 21.11 (Indecency With a Child), 22.011(a)(2) (Sexual Assault of a Child), or 22.021(a)(2)(B) (Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Person Younger than 14 years of Age), Penal Code, knows that the offense is being committed, and fails to report the commission of the offense to a law enforcement agency or peace officer as soon as reasonably practicable. (b) Provides that it is an exception to the application of this section that the person could not report the commission of an offense listed in Subsection (a) without placing the person, the victim of the offense, or any person, other than the person committing the offense, at risk of bodily injury. (c) Provides that an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor. SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 3. Emergency clause.