AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Monday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that would make it a crime for a person to knowingly remove or disable and ankle monitor tracking device that they’re required to wear as a condition of house arrest, parole or release on bail.

According to Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), the bill’s author, 76,940 people are currently on parole in Texas, and 4,315 of them have a monitoring device. She said in the last year, 1,127 monitor straps were either cut, or an active warrant remains for a cut strap.

Currently, it is only a parole violation to tamper with or destroy an ankle monitor. The bill would make it either a third-degree or state-jail felony to do so. A state-jail felony, according to the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), is one step below a third-degree felony. The charges would also apply if the person used a third-party to tamper with the device.

In a robbery spree that ended at The Domain in June 2022, the Austin Police Department said one of the suspects cut off his ankle monitor two days after getting released from juvenile custody – and about two weeks before he allegedly took part in the robberies.

“As we’re trying to move away from incarceration, we’re trying to use technology,” said TMPA Executive Director Kevin Lawrence. “But now we’re finding the more we use that, the more we find people trying to foil those methods.”

According to the witness list for the bill, no one spoke in opposition of it.

It will now go to a House committee.