by Marc A. Levin, Vikrant P. Reddy
Texas Public Policy Foundation
January 17, 2013
“Ground zero” for state-level overcriminalization may well be the United States Gulf Coast. Five U.S. states border the Gulf of Mexico—Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida—and between them, they have passed nearly 1,000 laws criminalizing activity along the coast. Criminal sanctions are of course appropriately applied to an individual who intentionally contaminates another person’s property. Too often, however, the activity that is governed by these myriad laws is non-blameworthy, ordinary business activity. This report provides an overview of these “crimes,” explains why the overcriminalization along the coast is detrimental to economic liberty and growth, and finally, proposes solutions for reining in the overcriminalization problem.