S. 1749: Cell Phone Contraband Act of 2010

S. 1749

Cell Phone Contraband Act of 2010

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

July 20, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

S. 1749 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage.  The legislation was introduced by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) on October 5, 2009.

Bill Summary

S. 1749 makes it a crime for federal prisoners to possess cell phones while incarcerated.  The bill directs the GAO to study the cost and use of landlines and smuggled cell phones in federal and selected state prisons and jails.  The study will additionally examine selected state and federal efforts to prevent the smuggling of cell phones and other wireless devices into prisons, including efforts made to minimize trafficking of cell phones by prison guards and other officials.


CBO estimates that implementing S. 1749 would have no significant cost to the federal government.  Enacting the legislation could affect direct spending and revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.  However, CBO estimates that the net effects would be insignificant for each year.

Because the bill would establish a new crime, the government might be able to pursue cases that it otherwise would not be able to prosecute.  CBO expects that S. 1749 would apply to a relatively small number of offenders so any increase in costs for law enforcement, court proceedings, or prison operations would not be significant.  Any such costs would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

Because those prosecuted and convicted under S. 1749 could be subject to criminal fines, the federal government might collect additional amounts if the legislation is enacted.  Criminal fines are recorded as revenues, deposited in the Crime Victims Fund, and later spent.  CBO estimates that any additional revenues and direct spending would not be significant because of the small number of cases likely to be affected.

 S. 1749 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.