HBA-BSM H.B. 1729 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1729 By: Goolsby Criminal Jurisprudence 4/12/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. 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 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. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.