Five Gulf Coast states have over 1,000 laws that allow prosecutors to target people with criminal sanctions over rather minor infractions related to the environment and outdoor living, a new study shows, even in cases where the accused did not cause any harm or knowingly break the law.
“The labyrinth of vague offenses fails to put individuals and businesses on notice as to what conduct is prohibited, leaving those in such industries with the unenviable choice of curtailing productive, job-creating economic activity or taking a risk of being branded a criminal,” Texas Public Policy Foundation analyst Vikrant Redd said in a statement on his organization’s report.
The report indicates that this opaque process tends to empower bureaucrats, with many “offenses created by rulemaking pursuant to blanket statutes that permit agencies to effectively create crimes,” in addition to criminal regulations pertaining to hunting, fishing, or agriculture.
Texans can commit up to 11 felonies related to harvesting oysters, according to TPPF. In Louisiana, Burt Rico learned that the state Fish and Wildlife Service would crack down on him for hunting over a deer feeder that had lights.
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