Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1729
By: Goolsby
Criminal Jurisprudence


Retail theft offenses committed in mercantile establishments are
increasing.  Many retailers combat these increases in retail theft offenses
by installing complex and expensive electronic article surveillance
systems. However, there does exist "professional" retail thieves who travel
to different cities in order to commit such offenses, and despite
increasingly complex surveillance systems some shoplifters are using tools
and devices to override the electronic systems.  House Bill 1729 provides
that possession, sale, manufacturing, and distribution of a device intended
to shield merchandise from detection by an electronic or magnetic theft
detector without the permission of the merchant or person owning the
merchandise is a Class A misdemeanor. 


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. 


House Bill 1729 amends the Penal Code to provide that a person commits a
Class A misdemeanor if the person possesses a shielding or deactivation
instrument with the intent to use the instrument to commit a theft, or
knowingly manufactures, sells, offers for sale, or otherwise distributes a
shielding or deactivation instrument.  The bill also specifies that if
notice is provided, the activation of an electrical, mechanical,
electronic, or magnetic device used by a retail establishment to prevent or
detect shoplifting is grounds for a person to reasonably believe a person
has stolen or is attempting to steal property.  The notice must be posted
on the premises of the retail establishment in a manner that is reasonably
likely to come to the attention of the public and must state that the
establishment uses retail theft detectors to prevent or detect shoplifting.
The bill provides that an individual or retail establishment is not liable
for any damage that may arise from conduct authorized by the provisions of
this bill.  The bill also sets forth provisions for the prevention of the
consequences of theft. 


September 1, 2001.