JANUARY 31, 2019



AUSTIN - State Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rural South Texas) filed legislation to increase punishment for looting during a state of emergency or evacuation order.


"Unfortunately, during times of emergency, some people choose to take advantage of the crisis and commit crimes," said Guillen. "That is not acceptable. When people have to take shelter, evacuate, or close their businesses for their own safety, the state should be the guardians of their property."


Despite the mandatory curfew imposed to deter looters during Hurricane Harvey, over 200 people were arrested on charges of looting. Currently, Texas law allows the state to impose harsher punishments for specific crimes committed during a declared state of emergency or evacuation order. However, it fails to cover some common crimes of looters, such as vehicle theft. HB 1028 seeks to elevate the punishment for vehicle and other kinds of theft during emergencies. The bill still maintains its protection for those looting out of absolute necessity.


"Families enduring through crises should not have to suffer the added stress of their cars or anything else being stolen," added Guillen. "I am confident that this bill can deter people from looting and that justice can be served to those who do."


Serving ten rural South Texas counties in the Texas House of Representatives, Ryan Guillen is known for his hard work, fierce independence, and relentless efforts for South Texas families. Recently, Capitol Inside called him a “House Bill Machine,” and a “one-person assembly line for legislation.” Since elected, few other legislators have passed more bills than Guillen. Sign up for updates at,, and