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Senator Bettencourt passes bill out the TX Senate to put illegal street racers in “park”!

HB 1442 gives police and prosecutors more tools to take down organized street racing and takeovers HB 1442 is the identical companion to Sen. Bettencourt’s SB 1970 that passed out of the Senate 29-2 

Austin – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) sponsored and passed the committee substitute to  House Bill 1442 by Representative Ann Johnson (D-Houston) out of the Texas Senate on Monday, May  15, 2023, to give police and prosecutors more tools to take down organized street racing and street  takeovers in Texas. “HB 1442 throws street racers and street takeover criminals in “park,” by  giving law enforcement more tools to throw these criminals on the sidelines. Our message is  clear: If you participate in these criminal acts, we’re going to throw the full weight of the law at  you,” said Senator Bettencourt. “Lots of bipartisan resolve to stop this in its tracks!” Added Senator  Bettencourt.  

Recently street takeovers have become common occurrences in Texas. In Houston arrests have been  made almost weekly through 2023 for street and parking lot takeovers. A report by ABC 13 found that in  2022, the Harris County District Attorney handled 1,000 street racing cases, resulting in 200 cars being  seized. More recently, on February 18, 2023, the City of Austin suffered seven street takeover events in  one night. During which, suspects threw fireworks at police vehicles, set streets on fire, and shut down  multiple roads throughout Austin into the early morning hours. 

“It’s a tremendous danger, and HB 1442 is an important step to stopping it,” said Senator Phil King  (R-Weatherford), former Captain in the Fort Worth Police Department.  

HB 1442 aims to give police and prosecutors more tools to take down organized street racing and  takeovers. During the 87th Legislative Session, “Reckless Driving Exhibition” was created in code.  However, under that code, police cannot charge suspects with Deadly Conduct for the basis to seize  vehicles used in street racing and street takeovers, in some circumstances. HB 1442 fixes this by creating  a new section of code under the “obstructing a highway or other passageway statute” that will allow for  vehicles being used during street takeovers to be seized by law enforcement. It also adds reckless driving  exhibition statutes to the engaging in organized criminal activity statute.  

HB 1442 will head back to the Texas House of Representatives to concur on amendments before being  sent to the Governor to be signed into law. “This was a bipartisan bill in both chambers. I’m proud to  have worked with Senator King on stopping street racing in the Senate version, and Rep.  Johnson’s office on this, and look forward to it being sent to Governor Abbott, who launched his  own task force to tackle street takeovers,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.

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