HBA-EDN H.B. 89 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 89 By: Hill Criminal Jurisprudence 3/4/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current federal law, states are required to enact a law that prohibits the possession of any open alcoholic beverage container or the consumption of any alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle on a public highway. If a state has not enacted or is not enforcing an open container law, federal law requires that a percentage of federal highway funds apportioned to the state be transferred for use in traffic safety programs. The percentage of funds required to be transferred to traffic safety is 1_% on October 1, 2001. If the state continues to be out of compliance by October 1, 2002, the amount transferred increases to 3%. Texas continues to not be in compliance with federal law, and as a result, the state is transferring certain highway construction funds into traffic safety programs that may be better spent on projects to ease congestion and enhance mobility on highways. House Bill 89 establishes provisions which bring the state into compliance with federal open container laws. 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 89 amends the Penal Code to provide that a person commits an offense if the person consumes an alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle in a public place, regardless of whether the person is observed doing so by a peace officer. In addition, the bill provides that an occupant of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway or on the right-of-way of a public highway, including a rest area, comfort station, picnic area, roadside park or scenic overlook situated on the right-of-way of a public highway, commits an offense if the person consumes an alcoholic beverage, or possesses in the passenger area of the motor vehicle a receptacle that contains an alcoholic beverage that has been opened, has a broken seal, or has the contents partially removed. The bill provides an affirmative defense to prosecution if the person consuming or possessing the alcoholic beverage is a passenger in the living quarters of a house coach or house trailer, or is a passenger in a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.