During the 88th Texas Legislative Session, lawmakers filed more than 8,000 bills. Only a fraction of these bills passed through the legislative process and became law.
Of the bills that did become law, a significant number pertained to criminal justice, creating new offenses or amending existing statutes. Some of Texas’ new criminal laws are quite straightforward, while others may seem more puzzling.
Here is a rundown of 50 of the most interesting or impactful new Texas criminal laws that went into effect in 2023. The list includes laws that make it illegal to use hypnotic sessions as evidence in court, prohibit juvenile curfews, and increase the age at which people can be permanently exempted from jury duty.
It also includes laws that create new offenses for aggravated assault resulting in paralysis and illegal dumping.
Texas House Bill (HB) 6, Fentanyl Murder
Texas lawmakers passed HB 6 to combat the fentanyl crisis. The bill creates the criminal offense of murder for supplying fentanyl that results in a death, enhances the criminal penalties for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl, and requires deaths caused by fentanyl to be designated as fentanyl toxicity or fentanyl poisoning on a death certificate.
Specifically, the bill makes the following changes to the law:
- Manufacturing or delivering fentanyl that results in an overdose death is now a first-degree felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison.
- Manufacturing or delivering 200 to 400 grams of fentanyl is now punishable by 10 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
- Manufacturing or delivering over 400 grams of fentanyl is now punishable by 15 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
- Manufacturing or delivering under 1 gram of fentanyl is now a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
- Manufacturing or delivering 4 to 200 grams of fentanyl is now punishable by 10 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.
The bill also requires deaths caused by fentanyl to be designated as fentanyl toxicity or fentanyl poisoning on a death certificate. This is intended to help law enforcement track the extent of the fentanyl crisis and hold those responsible for these deaths accountable.
HB420, Giving Alcohol to a Minor Leading to Injury or Death
Providing alcohol to a minor is already a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, a new law that went into effect in 2023 makes the consequences even more severe if the minor who consumes the alcohol goes on to cause serious bodily injury or death to another person.
Under HB 420, the person who provided the alcohol to the minor can be charged with a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum fine of $10,000. This law is intended to deter adults from providing alcohol to minors, knowing that the consequences could be serious if the minor goes on to harm someone else.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to anyone who provides alcohol to a minor, regardless of their relationship to the minor.
- The law does not apply if the minor obtains the alcohol themselves without the adult’s knowledge or consent.
- The law does not apply if the minor causes serious bodily injury or death to themselves.
If you are considering providing alcohol to a minor, it is important to be aware of the risks. The new law could result in serious criminal penalties, even if you did not intend for the minor to harm anyone.
HB 3556, Athena Alert
The Athena Alert is a new type of alert system in Texas that is designed to help find missing children quickly. It is named after 7-year-old Athena Strand, who was kidnapped and killed in December 2022.
The Athena Alert is similar to an AMBER Alert, but it has some key differences. An AMBER Alert can only be issued when law enforcement has confirmed that a child has been abducted.
The Athena Alert can be issued even if law enforcement has not yet confirmed an abduction, as long as they believe that a child is in danger. The Athena Alert also has a smaller geographic range than an AMBER Alert.
An AMBER Alert is broadcast statewide, while an Athena Alert is only broadcast within a 100-mile radius of the child’s last known location. This allows law enforcement to target the alert to the area where the child is most likely to be found.
The Athena Alert is a valuable tool that can help law enforcement find missing children quickly. It is important for everyone to be aware of this new alert system and to be prepared to help if a child goes missing.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the Athena Alert:
- The Athena Alert can be issued by any law enforcement agency in Texas.
- The alert will include the child’s name, age, description, and last known location.
- The alert will also include a description of the suspect or vehicle, if available.
- The public is urged to call 911 if they see the child or suspect.
HB 467, Statute of Limitations Extended for Family Violence
HB 467 extends the statute of limitations for certain family violence offenses. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that prosecutors have to file charges against someone for a crime.
In the past, prosecutors had two years to file misdemeanor family violence charges and three years to file felony family violence charges. The new law extends the statute of limitations for misdemeanor family violence cases to three years and for felony family violence cases to five years.
This means that victims of family violence have more time to come forward and report the abuse. It also means that prosecutors have more time to build a case and bring charges against the abuser.
The new law is a positive step in the fight against family violence. It gives victims more time to heal and get the help they need, and it gives prosecutors more time to hold abusers accountable.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to all family violence offenses, regardless of the severity of the offense.
- The law does not apply to offenses that occurred before the law went into effect.
- The law does not apply to offenses that are subject to a shorter statute of limitations, such as assault or battery.
HB 598, No Pets After Animal Cruelty Conviction
HB 598 is a new law in Texas that aims to prevent people convicted of animal cruelty from acquiring more animals for at least five years. The law makes it illegal for anyone who has been convicted of dogfighting, cockfighting, attacking an assistance animal, or cruelty to a non-livestock animal to have a pet or live in a house with a pet for five years after their conviction.
The first violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. A subsequent violation is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
This law is intended to protect animals from further abuse by people who have already shown a disregard for their well-being. It also sends a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in Texas.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to all animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.
- The law does not apply to people who have been convicted of animal cruelty in another state.
- The law does not apply to people who have been convicted of animal cruelty for a minor offense, such as a citation for a barking dog.
If you are considering adopting a pet, it is important to be aware of this new law. If you have been convicted of animal cruelty, you may not be eligible to adopt a pet for five years.
HB 1163, Boating While Intoxicated with a Child
HB 1163 makes it a state jail felony to boat while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 15 in Texas. This is a significant change to the law, as it was previously only a Class B misdemeanor to operate a boat while intoxicated.
The new law is similar to the law that prohibits driving a vehicle while intoxicated with a child passenger. The goal of the law is to protect children from the dangers of boating while intoxicated.
A state jail felony is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The law also requires boaters to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or lower if they are operating a boat with a passenger under the age of 15. This is the same BAC limit that applies to drivers.
The new law is a positive step in the fight against boating while intoxicated. It sends a message that this behavior will not be tolerated, and it provides stronger penalties for those who violate the law.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to all boats, including personal watercraft, canoes, and kayaks.
- The law does not apply to people who are boating on private property.
- The law does not apply to people who are boating in a designated boating safety course.
If you are planning to boat with a child passenger, it is important to be aware of this new law. Make sure that you are not intoxicated and that your BAC is below the legal limit. You should also take precautions to avoid boating while intoxicated, such as designating a sober driver or taking public transportation.
HB 1243, Illegal Voting is a Felony
Texas has strict laws against illegal voting. In 2021, lawmakers made it a second-degree felony to cast a fraudulent ballot, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Illegal voting includes things like:
- Voting when you are not eligible to vote, such as if you are not a citizen or if you are not registered to vote.
- Voting more than once in an election.
- Voting as another person.
- Tampering with election equipment or ballots.
- Soliciting or accepting a bribe to vote.
The penalties for illegal voting are severe because voting is a fundamental right in the United States. The right to vote is protected by the Constitution, and it is important to ensure that elections are fair and free from fraud.
If you are unsure about whether you are eligible to vote, you can contact your local election office. They will be able to help you determine if you are eligible and how to register to vote.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to all elections in Texas, including state, local, and federal elections.
- The law does not apply to people who make a mistake and vote illegally without knowing it.
- The law does not apply to people who are convicted of a minor offense, such as a citation for voting without identification.
If you are accused of illegal voting, it is important to speak to an attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
HB 914, No Tampering with Temporary Tags
In an effort to combat the use of fraudulent vehicle tags in criminal activity, Texas lawmakers have made it a Class A misdemeanor to tamper with temporary license plates. Temporary license plates are now considered “government documents” under the law, and tampering with them is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
This law is designed to deter people from using fraudulent temporary plates, which are often used in the furtherance of crimes such as vehicle theft, robbery, drug trafficking, and even murder. The law also makes it easier for law enforcement to track down and prosecute those who use fraudulent temporary plates.
Here are some of the things that are considered tampering with a temporary license plate:
- Altering the plate in any way, such as changing the numbers or letters.
- Removing the plate from the vehicle.
- Using a plate that is not issued to you.
- Selling or giving a plate to someone else.
If you are caught tampering with a temporary license plate, you could face serious criminal charges. It is important to remember that temporary license plates are still government documents, and tampering with them is a crime.
HB 611, Doxing is Illegal
Doxing is a form of cyberbullying that has surged in popularity in Texas and across the country. It is the act of spreading or posting private information about an individual without their permission, typically through the internet, to harm, harass, or get revenge.
HB 611 makes it a crime to post an individual’s address or phone number on a publicly accessible website with the intent to cause harm or a threat of harm to the individual or a member of their family or household. This is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
The punishment can be elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if the offense results in bodily injury of that individual or their family member. This law is designed to protect individuals from the harm that can be caused by doxxing.
It sends a message that this behavior will not be tolerated in Texas. Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the law:
- The law applies to all individuals, regardless of their age or location.
- The law does not apply to information that is already publicly available.
- The law does not apply to information that is posted for legitimate purposes, such as news reporting or political activism.
If you are the victim of doxxing, you should report it to the police. You can also take steps to protect yourself, such as removing your personal information from the internet and using strong passwords.
Senate Bill (SB) 224, Unauthorized Possession of a Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise in Texas in recent years. In response, lawmakers passed legislation in 2021 making it a felony to steal, buy, or sell stolen catalytic converters.
The law was further enhanced in 2023 to make it a crime to possess a catalytic converter that has been unlawfully removed from a vehicle. Unauthorized possession of a catalytic converter is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.
The penalties can be enhanced to a third-degree felony if the defendant:
- Has previously been convicted of the offense
- Was engaging in organized crime
- Possessed a firearm
The legislation is known as the Deputy Darren Almendarez Act, named after the late Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Almendarez who was killed in the line of duty while trying to prevent a group of thieves from stealing his catalytic converter. The law is intended to deter catalytic converter thefts and to protect law enforcement officers who are working to prevent these crimes.
Here are some tips to help protect your catalytic converter:
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Install a security cage or shield around your catalytic converter.
- Etch your vehicle identification number (VIN) on your catalytic converter.
- Report any suspicious activity to the police.
SB 1551, Refusal to ID While Driving
Until recently, drivers in Texas were not required to identify themselves to police officers when they were pulled over. However, a new law, SB 1551, now requires drivers to provide their driver’s license, name, address, and birthdate to police officers if they are pulled over for an alleged law violation.
If a driver refuses to identify themselves, they can be charged with failure to identify while driving, which is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. If a driver gives a false or fictitious name, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
The law is intended to make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify drivers and investigate potential crimes. It is important to note that the law does not require drivers to answer any questions other than their name, address, and birthdate.
Drivers also have the right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney before answering any questions. If you are pulled over by a police officer, it is important to cooperate and provide your identification.
However, you should also be aware of your rights and do not feel pressured to answer any questions that you do not want to answer.
HB 1589, New Family Violence Enhancement
Assault bodily injury against a family member is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. However, if an alleged offender has a previous conviction for violating a bond or protective order in a family violence case, the punishment can be enhanced to a third-degree felony.
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The enhancement is intended to deter people from committing assault bodily injury against family members, especially if they have a history of violating court orders.
If you are facing charges for assault bodily injury against a family member, it is important to speak to an attorney. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and your options for defending yourself.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind:
- The enhancement applies to any conviction for violating a bond or protective order in a family violence case, regardless of the severity of the underlying offense.
- The enhancement does not apply if the defendant’s previous conviction was for a misdemeanor offense.
- The enhancement does not apply if the defendant’s previous conviction was for an offense that occurred in another state.
HB 2306, Voyeurism Through Electronic Means
Current voyeurism laws in Texas do not explicitly cover the use of electronic devices to spy on people. HB 2306 updates the law to make it clear that it is illegal to use any electronic means, including drones or hidden cameras, to observe someone without their consent with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire.
The law defines voyeurism as “intentionally or knowingly observing, recording, or taking photographs or videos of another person without their consent in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the observer.” It applies to all electronic devices, including drones, cell phones, and hidden cameras.
The penalties for voyeurism vary depending on the severity of the offense. A first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
A second or subsequent offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The law is intended to protect people’s privacy and to deter people from using electronic devices to spy on others.
SB 1361, Deep Fake Pornography
SB 1361 introduces a significant legal measure to address the creation and distribution of “deep fake” videos involving explicit content without the consent of the individuals depicted. Here are some key points about this legislation:
- Definition of “Deep Fake”: The term “deep fake” refers to highly realistic video or audio content that has been manipulated or synthesized using advanced technology to make it appear as though a person is doing or saying something they did not do or say.
- Creation and Distribution of Deep Fake Pornography: The bill criminalizes the intentional creation or distribution of deep fake videos depicting individuals with their intimate parts exposed or involved in sexual conduct. The central aspect of the offense is the lack of consent from the depicted person.
- Consent Requirement: The legislation highlights the importance of consent when creating or distributing such content. Without the explicit consent of the individuals portrayed in the deep fake video, producing or disseminating such material becomes illegal.
- Criminal Classification: The act of producing or distributing deep fake pornography is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are considered more serious offenses in terms of potential penalties compared to lower classes of misdemeanors.
- Penalties: If convicted of this offense, the perpetrator could face a maximum jail term of up to one year and a fine not exceeding $4,000.
- Deterrence and Protection: By establishing legal consequences for producing and distributing non-consensual deep fake pornography, the legislation aims to deter individuals from engaging in such harmful and invasive activities. It also seeks to protect individuals from the emotional and reputational harm caused by the unauthorized use of their likeness.
- Impact on Digital Landscape: The rise of technology that enables the creation of convincing deep fake content has raised concerns about the potential for misuse and harm. Legislation like SB 1361 acknowledges the need to address these concerns and provide legal mechanisms to hold wrongdoers accountable.
- Consent and Privacy: The legislation underscores the importance of consent and privacy rights in the digital age. It reinforces the idea that individuals have control over their own likeness and the content associated with it.
- Criminal Justice System: Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and courts will be responsible for implementing and enforcing the provisions outlined in SB 1361.
In summary, SB 1361 represents a proactive legislative effort to address the growing issue of non-consensual deep fake pornography. By criminalizing the creation and distribution of such content, the legislation aims to deter harmful activities and protect the privacy and dignity of individuals in the digital sphere.
HB 2187, Elderly Abandonment and Endangerment
This legislation expands the Texas statute that protects children from abandonment and endangerment to include elderly and disabled individuals. Beginning on September 1, 2023, Section 22.041 of the Texas Penal Code will also protect elderly and disabled individuals from abandonment and endangerment.
HB 2899, Race to the Impound
This legislation expands the authority of law enforcement to impound vehicles used in drag races. Previously, law enforcement could only impound a vehicle if there was property damage or bodily harm. Under the new law, law enforcement can impound any vehicle used in a drag race, regardless of whether there was any damage or injury.
HB 1910, Possession of Forged Money
The new law clarifies the penalties for possessing counterfeit money. Previously, a person could only be charged with the crime of counterfeiting if they had passed the counterfeit money. Now, a person can be charged with counterfeiting if they are found in possession of counterfeit money, regardless of whether they have passed it. This is because the law presumes that anyone in possession of counterfeit money intends to pass it.
For example, under the old law, if someone was caught with $50,000 in counterfeit money, but had not yet passed any of it, they could only be charged with a misdemeanor. Under the new law, they could be charged with a felony, because they are presumed to have intended to pass all of the counterfeit money.
This change in the law is intended to deter people from possessing counterfeit money, even if they do not intend to pass it. The law also makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute people who are caught with counterfeit money.
HB 3075, No Drones Above Prisons
HB 3075 makes it a crime to fly a drone near a correctional or detention facility. The law prohibits flying a drone less than 400 feet above a facility, making contact with a facility, or coming close enough to cause a disturbance.
The offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a maximum $2,000 fine. However, the offense is elevated to a state jail felony if the drone is used to drop contraband.
HB 3553, Human Trafficking Near College Campus
This legislation increases the penalties for human trafficking on college campuses. The bill makes it a first-degree felony, punishable by 25 years to life in prison, to traffic a person on the premises of or within 1,000 feet of a public, private, or independent institution of higher education.
Previously, this offense was a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
HB 3554, Human Trafficking Near Daycares
This legislation increases the penalties for human trafficking near child-serving organizations. The bill makes it a first-degree felony, punishable by 25 years to life in prison, to traffic a person within 1,000 feet of certain shelters or facilities, a community center offering youth services, or a child-care facility. Previously, this offense was a second-degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
HB 2129, Retailers Can Send Shoplifters to TIPS Program
Most large Texas counties have a program called Theft Intervention Program (TIPs) that allows first-time, low-risk shoplifters to avoid criminal charges by completing an education course. HB 2129 expands this program by allowing retailers to offer suspected shoplifters the opportunity to complete a theft education program instead of being reported to law enforcement.
HB 1833, Attacks on Texas Power Grid
In recent years, there have been a number of attacks on the electric grid in Texas and across the country. In response, Texas lawmakers have increased the penalties for criminal mischief involving critical infrastructure facilities or public power supplies.
The new law makes it a third-degree felony to cause an interruption to the public power supply if the pecuniary loss is less than $150,000, a second-degree felony if the pecuniary loss is between $150,000 and $300,000, and a first-degree felony if the pecuniary loss is $300,000 or more.
HB 1730, Crackdown on Chronic Flashers
Starting September 1, 2023, the penalties for indecent exposure will be increased for repeat offenders. Individuals with one previous conviction for indecent exposure will now face a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Individuals with two or more previous convictions for indecent exposure will now face a state jail felony, punishable by 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The previous penalties for indecent exposure were a Class B misdemeanor for a first-time offense and a Class A misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense. The new penalties are more severe in an effort to deter repeat offenders and protect the public.
HB 2715, Prohibiting Offenders from Tracking Victims
HB 2715 gives magistrates the authority to prohibit defendants charged with family violence offenses from tracking or monitoring their victims as a condition of bond. This is important because abusers often use tracking devices to stalk and harass their victims.
The new law will help to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking by making it more difficult for their abusers to track them.
HB 1772, Unauthorized Harvest of Timber
To deter timber theft, Texas lawmakers have passed legislation that requires additional information to be included in timber bill of sales and increases the penalties for fraudulent bills of sale.
The new law makes it a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, for timber purchasers and sellers who knowingly fail to provide the required documentation or knowingly provide false information. If the offense was committed to conceal or attempt to conceal the unauthorized harvesting of timber or the defrauding of a timber beneficiary, the penalties are more severe:
- State jail felony: Up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000, if the value of the timber was at least $500 but less than $20,000.
- Third-degree felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, if the value of the timber was at least $20,000 but less than $100,000.
- Second-degree felony: Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, if the value of the timber was at least $100,000 but less than $200,000.
- First-degree felony: Up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, if the value of the timber was $200,000 or more.
SB 1004, Tampering With an Electronic Monitor
The new law makes it a crime to tamper with an electronic monitoring device, such as an ankle bracelet, that is required for location monitoring. This applies to defendants on bond, probationers, and parolees.
Previously, tampering with an electronic monitor was only considered a technical violation, but now it is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum fine of $10,000. If the person is in a super-intensive supervision program, the offense could be elevated to a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
SB 1527, Child Grooming
The new law classifies grooming as a third-degree felony, carrying potential penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Grooming, in this context, refers to the intentional establishment of a connection with a child with the intent of subjecting them to sexual abuse or human trafficking.
Under the law, it is now considered a state crime for an individual to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or attempt to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexual conduct or activity, or to be a participant in such conduct. This legislative action reflects an effort to strengthen the legal framework surrounding child protection and prevent individuals from grooming children for sexual exploitation or trafficking purposes.
SB 991, Crime Lab Portal
SB 991 creates a central computerized portal for crime lab records in Texas. The portal will be managed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and will allow authorized parties, such as prosecutors and defense attorneys, to request and access crime lab records electronically. This will replace the current paper-driven discovery process, which is often slow and inefficient.
The portal will also provide information on disciplinary proceedings against crime labs or license holders investigated by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. This will help to ensure that all parties involved in a criminal case have access to the same information, regardless of whether they are representing the prosecution or the defense.
Participation in the portal is mandatory for all crime labs that perform forensic analysis for use in a criminal action. Labs that fail to participate may be subject to disciplinary action by the Forensic Science Commission.
Here are some of the benefits of the SB 991 crime lab online portal:
- Increased efficiency: The portal will streamline the process of requesting and accessing crime lab records, reducing the time and cost of discovery.
- Streamlined sharing: The portal will make it easier for authorized parties to share crime lab records with each other, which will improve communication and coordination.
- Reduced delays: The portal will help to reduce delays in forensic science litigation, ensuring that cases are resolved more quickly.
- Improved transparency: The portal will provide greater transparency into the forensic science process, making it easier for the public to understand how cases are investigated and prosecuted.
Overall, SB 991 is a positive step towards improving the efficiency and transparency of the forensic science process in Texas. The portal will make it easier for prosecutors and defense attorneys to obtain the information they need to effectively represent their clients, and it will help to ensure that all parties involved in a criminal case have access to the same information.
SB 4123, Updates to Criminal Background Check Requirements
The Texas legislature has passed a bill to update the state’s criminal background check requirements to align with new federal guidelines. The bill clarifies the access and use of criminal background check information, as well as the obligations of relevant entities.
The new federal requirements aim to improve the efficiency of the hiring and contracting processes while ensuring the security of private information. They require entities that conduct criminal background checks to:
- Obtain consent from the individual being checked.
- Restrict access to the information to authorized personnel.
- Destroy the information once it is no longer needed.
The Texas bill updates the state’s law to reflect these requirements. It also clarifies the following:
- Who can request a criminal background check.
- What information can be included in a criminal background check.
- How long the information can be retained.
- How the information must be destroyed.
The bill also requires entities that conduct criminal background checks to provide the individual being checked with a copy of the report and an opportunity to dispute any inaccurate information.
The bill is a step forward in protecting the privacy of individuals while ensuring that employers and contractors have access to the information they need to make informed hiring decisions.
Here are some of the benefits of the new law:
- It will improve the efficiency of the hiring and contracting processes by making it easier for employers and contractors to obtain criminal background checks.
- It will help to ensure the security of private information by requiring entities that conduct criminal background checks to take steps to protect the information.
- It will provide individuals with more control over their own criminal background information by requiring entities to obtain consent before conducting a check and to provide the individual with a copy of the report.
The new law is a positive step forward for the State of Texas. It will help to protect the privacy of individuals while ensuring that employers and contractors have access to the information they need to make informed hiring decisions.
SB 15, Ban on Trans Collegiate Athletes
SB 15, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” prohibits biological males from competing against biological females in intercollegiate athletics at public universities in Texas. The bill requires athletes to participate on the team that corresponds with their biological sex, as indicated on their birth certificate.
The bill was introduced in response to concerns about the fairness of women’s sports. Some people believe that biological males who transition to female have an unfair advantage in sports, due to their larger size and strength.
The bill has been met with mixed reactions. Some people support it, arguing that it is necessary to protect the integrity of women’s sports, while others oppose it, arguing that it is discriminatory and harmful to transgender athletes.
HB 165, Mass Shooting Definition and Enhanced Punishment
HB 165 enhances the criminal penalty for aggravated assault in the context of a mass shooting. A mass shooting is defined as an incident where a firearm is used with the intention to inflict serious bodily injury or death, and results in 4 or more injured people.
Under HB 165, the penalty for aggravated assault is elevated from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. This means that a person convicted of aggravated assault as part of a mass shooting could face a much longer prison sentence and a larger fine than they would if the same crime were committed in a different context.
HB 165 also requires sentences for crimes committed as part of the same event and punished as a first-degree felony to be served consecutively. This means that a person convicted of multiple aggravated assaults as part of a mass shooting would not be able to have their sentences served concurrently, but would have to serve each sentence one after the other.
HB 165 was passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 10, 2023. It will take effect on September 1, 2023.
The bill is intended to deter mass shootings and to ensure that those who commit these crimes are severely punished. It is also intended to send a message that Texas will not tolerate this type of violence.
SB 2101, Modernized Notice to Crime Victims
The Texas Constitution guarantees crime victims the right to be notified of court proceedings and the conviction, sentence, and release of the accused. This legislation updates the law to allow victims to receive this information electronically, if they so choose.
In the past, victims were typically notified of these events through traditional mail. However, this can be slow and inconvenient, especially for victims who have moved or who do not have a permanent address. Electronic notification is a more efficient and reliable way to ensure that victims receive the information they need.
The legislation also allows victims to designate a guardian or close relative to receive notification on their behalf. This is helpful for victims who are unable to read or understand the information themselves, or who may be afraid of retaliation from the accused.
The legislation is a positive step forward for crime victims. It will help to ensure that they are kept informed about the progress of their case and that they have the opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process.
Here are some of the benefits of electronic notification for crime victims:
- It is more efficient and timely than traditional mail.
- It is more secure, as it is less likely to be lost or intercepted.
- It is more accessible to victims who do not have a permanent address or who do not have access to the internet.
- It allows victims to choose the method of notification that is most convenient for them.
The legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure that crime victims are treated with dignity and respect. It will help to make the criminal justice system more victim-centered and to provide victims with the support they need to heal.
HB 898, Increased Move Over or Slow Down Penalties
Texas has a new law that requires drivers to either change lanes or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, tow trucks, utility service vehicles, TxDOT vehicles, or other construction vehicles with activated lights or signals on the roadside. The law, known as the “Move Over or Slow Down” law, was passed in 2023 and went into effect on September 1, 2023.
Under the law, drivers who fail to comply with the Move Over or Slow Down law can be ticketed and fined. The fine for a first offense is $200, and the fine for a subsequent offense is $500. The court may also order the driver to complete a driver education course.
The Move Over or Slow Down law is intended to protect the safety of emergency workers and other roadside personnel. These workers are often exposed to danger when they are working on or near the roadway. By requiring drivers to either change lanes or slow down, the law helps to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.
The law also authorizes the court to adjust the fines and court costs based on the circumstances surrounding each violation. For example, the court may reduce the fine if the driver was not aware of the emergency vehicle or if the driver was unable to safely change lanes.
The Move Over or Slow Down law is a positive step forward for safety on Texas roadways. It is important for all drivers to be aware of the law and to comply with it. By doing so, we can help to protect the safety of emergency workers and other roadside personnel.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the Move Over or Slow Down law:
- The law applies to all vehicles, including motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
- The law applies to all emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and tow trucks.
- The law applies to all roadside workers, including construction workers, utility workers, and TxDOT employees.
- The law applies to all vehicles with activated lights or signals, regardless of whether they are stopped or moving.
- Drivers who fail to comply with the Move Over or Slow Down law may also be charged with reckless driving or driving under the influence.
If you see an emergency vehicle or roadside worker with activated lights or signals, it is important to take action to avoid a collision. Either change lanes or slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. By doing so, you can help to keep everyone safe on the road.
SB 1725, Expunctions for First-Time Minor Offenders
Section 106.12 of the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code (TABC) currently allows for the expungement of a single offense involving an alcohol citation. However, individuals are often charged with multiple offenses in one incident.
For example, a college student who is caught with alcohol in their possession, is intoxicated, and is also carrying an open container could be charged with three separate offenses. Under the current interpretation of the law, the student would only be able to expunge one of these offenses.
A new bill, SB 1725, would change this interpretation and allow first-time minor offenders with multiple violations stemming from one incident to expunge the entire incident from their record. The bill passed the Texas Senate on March 8, 2023, and is currently being considered by the Texas House of Representatives.
The bill is supported by a number of organizations, including the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Texas Association of Counties. They argue that the bill would help to give first-time offenders a second chance and would make it easier for them to find jobs and housing.
The bill is opposed by some law enforcement organizations, who argue that it would make it too easy for offenders to get away with breaking the law. They also argue that the bill would send the wrong message to young people about the dangers of underage drinking.
HB 2019, No Statute of Limitations for Burglary with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault
House Bill 2019 (HB 2019) eliminates the five-year statute of limitations for first-degree burglary offenses when DNA has been collected. This is intended to address the problem of untested rape kits.
Under the current law, a person cannot be charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault if the crime occurred more than five years ago. This is a problem because many rape kits are not tested for a variety of reasons, including lack of funding, backlogs, and bureaucratic delays. As a result, many offenders who commit these crimes go unpunished.
HB 2019 would eliminate the statute of limitations in these cases, as long as DNA evidence has been collected. This would allow prosecutors to still charge offenders, even if the rape kit was not tested for a long time or if the DNA results do not match a readily identifiable person.
The bill is supported by a number of organizations, including the Texas Association of Rape Crisis Centers and the Texas Coalition to End Sexual Assault. They argue that the bill would help to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their crimes and that victims of sexual assault get the justice they deserve.
The bill is opposed by some law enforcement organizations, who argue that it would make it too difficult to prosecute these cases. They also argue that the bill would discourage victims from reporting sexual assault, as they would know that their attacker could still be charged even if the crime occurred many years ago.
HB 2700, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Child Pornography
HB 2700 addresses the concern that current laws may not be able to prosecute crimes involving the use of AI to create sexually explicit visual material of a minor. The bill defines “prohibited visual material” as a depiction of a child or minor:
- who is recognizable as an actual person by their face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic, such as a unique birthmark or other recognizable feature; and
- whose image was used in creating, adapting, or modifying the visual material, including computer-generated visual material that was created, adapted, or modified using an AI application or other computer software.
This means that even if the visual material is created using AI, it is still considered prohibited if it depicts a real child or minor. This is because the bill recognizes that AI can be used to create realistic images of children, and that these images can be used to exploit and harm children.
The bill also clarifies that the term “child” refers to a person under the age of 18. This is important because it ensures that the bill covers all forms of child sexual abuse content, regardless of whether the child is depicted as being younger or older than 18.
HB 2700 is a positive step forward in the fight against child sexual abuse. It is important to ensure that our laws are up-to-date and can address new forms of abuse, such as those involving AI. This bill will help to protect children and bring perpetrators to justice.
SB 435, Victims Rights: Family Access to Evidence
After the Santa Fe High School shooting, many victims’ loved ones wanted to view the evidence. However, current laws prevented them from doing so, as allowing family members to view evidence would also require that it be disclosed to the public, including the media.
HB 1903 rectifies this by authorizing a prosecutor to allow a family member to view certain evidence, including medical examiner reports and video evidence, without subjecting it to public disclosure. The bill is supported by a number of organizations, including the Texas Association of Victims of Crime and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
They argue that the bill would help to give family members the closure they need and would allow them to participate in the criminal justice process. The bill is opposed by some law enforcement organizations, who argue that it would make it too difficult to investigate and prosecute these cases.
They also argue that the bill would violate the public’s right to know about criminal cases. The debate over HB 1903 is likely to continue. It is a complex issue with no easy answers.
SB 402, Prioritizing Murder and Capital Murder
SB 402 requires trial courts to give priority to murder and capital murder cases when scheduling hearings and trials. This is intended to reduce the long wait times for these most serious cases, which can increase the chances of evidence being lost, witnesses disappearing, and prosecutions being impaired.
The bill was passed in response to concerns about the backlog of cases in Texas’ criminal justice system. In some counties, it can take years for a murder case to go to trial.
This is due to a number of factors, including limited resources, overcrowded jails, and complex legal issues. SB 402 is a step in the right direction to address this problem.
It will help to ensure that the most serious cases are given the attention they deserve and that justice is served in a timely manner. Some of the benefits of SB 402 include:
- It will reduce the wait time for murder and capital murder cases.
- It will help to ensure that evidence is not lost or witnesses disappear.
- It will help to ensure that prosecutions are not impaired.
- It will send a message that Texas takes these crimes seriously.
The bill is not without its critics. Some argue that it will lead to longer wait times for other types of cases.
However, the bill’s supporters argue that the benefits outweigh the costs. SB 402 is a complex issue with no easy answers, but it is a step in the right direction to address the problem of backlogs in the criminal justice system.
HB 2195, Obscured License Plates
Texas law prohibits drivers from obscuring their license plates. This is because obscured license plates can make it difficult for law enforcement officers, tolling authorities, and the general public to identify vehicles.
HB 2195 makes it an offense to attach or display a vehicle with a license plate that has a coating, covering, protective substance, or other material that alters or obscures the letters, numbers, or color of the license plate.
The punishment for obscuring a license plate is a maximum fine of:
- $300 for a first offense.
- $600 for a second offense.
- Up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
HB 2195 was passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on June 10, 2023. It will take effect on September 1, 2023.
The bill is a step in the right direction to ensure that license plates are visible and that law enforcement and other authorities can easily identify vehicles. It is also a way to deter drivers from obscuring their license plates in order to avoid detection.
Here are some of the reasons why it is important to have visible license plates:
- License plates help to identify vehicles, which can be important for law enforcement investigations and for tolling authorities to collect tolls.
- License plates can help to prevent crime, as they make it more difficult for criminals to commit crimes and get away.
- License plates can help to keep people safe, as they can help law enforcement to identify vehicles that are involved in accidents or other incidents.
By making it illegal to obscure license plates, HB 2195 helps to ensure that these important functions can be carried out.
HB 1227, Possession or Promotion of Child Porn Now a 3G Offense
Texas lawmakers have taken measures to address the seriousness of offenses related to child pornography by including possession and promotion of child pornography in the list of 3G offenses. In the legal context of Texas, a 3G offense refers to a specific category of felony offenses that have certain stricter conditions and implications.
A 3G offense is named after a section of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and carries specific legal consequences:
- Parole Eligibility: Offenders convicted of a 3G offense are required to serve at least half of their prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This is a more stringent requirement compared to other offenses, where parole eligibility might come sooner.
- No Straight Probation: A judge cannot give a defendant straight probation for a 3G offense without a jury’s recommendation after a trial. This means that if a person is convicted of a 3G offense, they generally cannot receive probation as their primary punishment unless the jury recommends it. This is intended to ensure that serious offenders receive appropriate penalties.
Adding possession and promotion of child pornography to the list of 3G offenses signifies the gravity of these offenses and emphasizes the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions involving child exploitation. This legislative change reflects the commitment to addressing child pornography in a more severe manner within the criminal justice system.
SB 372, Leaking Judicial Opinions
Court employees who leak confidential opinions or documents in Texas can now be imprisoned for up to a year and fined $4,000. Leaking judicial opinions is now a Class A misdemeanor in the state, under Senate Bill 372.
The law defines an offense as any act by a person, other than a justice or judge, who is involved in drafting an opinion or decision for an adjudicatory proceeding and who does not maintain the confidentiality of all non-public judicial work. Here is a more detailed explanation of the law:
- A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor in Texas. It is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
- Senate Bill 372 defines an offense as any act by a person, other than a justice or judge, who is involved in drafting an opinion or decision for an adjudicatory proceeding and who does not maintain the confidentiality of all non-public judicial work.
- Adjudicatory proceedings are legal proceedings in which a judge or jury decides the outcome of a case.
- Non-public judicial work is any work that is not yet publicly available, such as draft opinions or decisions.
The law was passed in response to the leak of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, No. 19-1392, 597 U.S. ___ (2022). The draft opinion, which was leaked in May 2022, would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The leak of the draft opinion caused a firestorm of controversy, and led to calls for increased security around the Supreme Court. The law signed by Governor Greg Abbott is intended to deter future leaks of confidential judicial opinions.
SB 1839, Sale or Purchase of Shark Fins or Shark Fin Products
Shark finning is the cruel and wasteful practice of catching sharks, slicing off their fins, and discarding the rest of the animal back into the water to die. Shark fin soup is a traditional delicacy in some cultures, but it is not worth the suffering and death of millions of sharks each year.
SB 1839, which was passed in Texas in 2021, makes shark finning a crime. The law prohibits the following:
- Failing to immediately destroy and discard a shark fin.
- Buying, selling, possessing, transporting, or shipping a shark fin, regardless of where the shark was taken or caught.
- Violating a proclamation or rule adopted under Section 66.2161 of the Texas Wildlife Code.
Shark finning is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. However, it is a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant has previously been convicted of shark finning in the previous five years.
The law is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to protect sharks from this cruel and wasteful practice. We need to educate people about the importance of sharks to the marine ecosystem and the need to protect them. We also need to support businesses that are committed to sustainability and do not serve shark fin soup.
Here are some additional facts about shark finning:
- Each year, millions of sharks are killed for their fins.
- Shark fin soup is a status symbol in some cultures, but it has no nutritional value.
- Shark fins are often used to make decorative items, such as jewelry and souvenirs.
- Shark finning is a major threat to shark populations worldwide.
- Sharks play an important role in the marine ecosystem by controlling populations of fish and other marine animals.
SB 840, Assault on Hospital Staff
Texas legislators have toughened the penalties for assaulting healthcare professionals in hospitals. SB 840, which was introduced by State Senator Royce West from Dallas, elevates the offense from a misdemeanor to a state felony.
This means that anyone who assaults a healthcare professional in a hospital can now face up to two years in a state jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. The bill is named after Jackie Pokuaa and Annette Flowers, two employees of Methodist Dallas Medical Center who were killed in a shooting incident in October 2022.
The bill’s passage is a victory for healthcare workers who have long been subjected to violence in the workplace. The bill also requires hospitals to develop and implement policies to prevent violence against healthcare workers.
These policies should include things like training staff on how to de-escalate situations, creating safe zones for staff to retreat to, and having security measures in place. The passage of SB 840 is a positive step towards protecting healthcare workers from violence.
However, more needs to be done to address the issue of workplace violence in healthcare. We need to raise awareness of the problem, provide support to victims, and work to create a culture of safety in hospitals.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Healthcare workers are 16 times more likely to be assaulted than workers in other industries.
- In 2021, there were over 450,000 workplace violence incidents in healthcare.
- Workplace violence can have a devastating impact on healthcare workers, both physically and emotionally.
HB 1207, Tampering in Cold Case Murders
A new law in Texas has eliminated the statute of limitations for tampering with evidence in murder cases. This means that law enforcement can now prosecute people for tampering with evidence in murder cases, even if the crime occurred many years ago.
The law was passed at the urging of law enforcement agencies, including the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers, and Texas Municipal Police Association. These agencies argued that the previous statute of limitations, which was three years, made it difficult to solve cold cases.
Cold cases are murders that have not been solved after a certain amount of time. They can be difficult to solve because the evidence may have been lost or destroyed, or the witnesses may have died or moved away.
The new law is expected to help law enforcement solve more cold cases. It also gives families of murder victims peace of mind knowing that their loved ones’ cases will not be forgotten.
The law is a victory for justice and for the families of murder victims. It is also a reminder that tampering with evidence is a serious crime that will not be tolerated.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- The new law is expected to have a significant impact on cold case investigations.
- It will give law enforcement more options to pursue cases that may have otherwise been closed.
- It will also give families of murder victims hope that their loved ones’ cases will eventually be solved.
The new law is a positive step towards ensuring that justice is served for all victims of murder.
SB 338, Hypnotic Sessions Inadmissible as Evidence
Investigative hypnosis is a controversial technique that is used to enhance an individual’s memory of an event. However, there is growing concern about the reliability of this technique, and 27 states have banned the use of hypnotically refreshed testimony in court.
The Texas legislature has recently passed a bill that clarifies the state’s law on investigative hypnosis. The bill makes it clear that statements made during or after a hypnotic session are inadmissible as evidence in a criminal trial, but only if the hypnotic session was performed to investigate the offense that is the subject of the trial.
The bill was passed in response to concerns about the reliability of hypnotically refreshed testimony. Critics argue that hypnosis can lead to false memories, and that it is not a reliable way to recover accurate memories.
The bill also addresses the issue of coercion. Critics argue that hypnosis can be used to coerce people into making false statements. The bill prohibits the use of hypnosis in a criminal investigation unless the person being hypnotized gives their informed consent.
The bill is a compromise between those who support and those who oppose the use of investigative hypnosis. It clarifies the state’s law on the matter, but it does not ban the use of hypnosis altogether.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Hypnosis is a powerful technique that can alter a person’s state of consciousness.
- Hypnosis can be used to enhance memory, but it can also lead to false memories.
- The reliability of hypnotically refreshed testimony is a matter of debate.
- Some states have banned the use of hypnotically refreshed testimony in court, while others have not.
The use of investigative hypnosis is a complex issue with no easy answers. The Texas legislature’s recent bill is a step towards clarifying the state’s law on the matter, but it is important to continue to research and debate the issue.
SB 1346, Illegal Dumping
Illegal dumping and littering have been on the rise in Texas in recent years. This is a serious problem that can have a negative impact on the environment, public health, and property values.
One of the main causes of illegal dumping is companies that unlawfully discard their scrap and unwanted materials in residential areas. These companies often do this to avoid the cost of proper disposal.
In response to this problem, the Texas legislature has passed Senate Bill 1346. This law gives local authorities the authority to prosecute not only individuals who dump waste, but also those who order the disposal of unwanted materials.
This law is a significant step forward in the fight against illegal dumping. It will help to deter companies from engaging in this illegal activity and protect our communities from the harmful effects of litter.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Illegal dumping can pollute waterways, contaminate soil, and attract pests.
- It can also lead to health problems, such as respiratory infections and skin diseases.
- Illegal dumping can also lower property values and make neighborhoods less desirable.
Senate Bill 1346 is a positive step towards addressing the problem of illegal dumping in Texas. However, more needs to be done to educate businesses and individuals about the importance of proper disposal. We also need to make sure that there are adequate resources available for enforcing the law.
HB 1819, Juvenile Curfews Prohibited
Juvenile curfew ordinances are ineffective at reducing crime and can have negative consequences for young people in Texas.
A study published in the Campbell Systematic Reviews found that there is no evidence that juvenile curfew ordinances reduce crime. In fact, the study found that curfews may actually lead to an increase in crime, as well as negative outcomes for young people, such as decreased school attendance and increased involvement in the justice system.
In response to this research, the Texas legislature has passed House Bill 1819, which prohibits political subdivisions from creating or enforcing curfew ordinances for minors. The bill does not apply to curfews implemented for purposes of emergency management.
This is a positive step towards protecting the rights of young people in Texas. Curfew ordinances are often discriminatory and disproportionately impact minority youth. They can also lead to young people being arrested for simply being outside after a certain time, even if they are not doing anything wrong.
The passage of House Bill 1819 is a victory for civil liberties and for the rights of young people in Texas. It is a step towards ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their circumstances.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Curfew ordinances are often based on the assumption that young people are more likely to commit crimes at night. However, there is no evidence to support this assumption.
- Curfew ordinances can also lead to young people being unsupervised and at risk of harm.
- Curfew ordinances can also be discriminatory, disproportionately impacting minority youth.
HB 1819 is a positive step towards protecting the rights of young people in Texas. However, more needs to be done to address the root causes of crime and violence in our communities. We need to invest in education, job training, and other programs that will help young people succeed.
HB 28, Aggravated Assault Resulting in Paralysis
This year, Texas lawmakers heard from Brandi Todd, a woman who was stabbed from behind at a park while she was with her children. The attack left her paralyzed from the waist down. The attacker was only charged with a second-degree felony because he did not have a prior relationship with Todd. If he had known her, the charge could have been enhanced to a first-degree felony.
Todd’s story inspired lawmakers to address this inconsistency. They passed HB 28, which will enhance the punishment for certain aggravated assaults that result in irreversible paralysis or a persistent vegetative state from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, regardless of the victim’s relationship with the assailant. A first-degree felony is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
The passage of HB 28 is a victory for Brandi Todd and for all victims of aggravated assault. It sends a message that these crimes will not be tolerated, regardless of the relationship between the victim and the attacker.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Brandi Todd’s story is a reminder of the devastating impact that aggravated assault can have on victims and their families.
- The passage of HB 28 is a step towards ensuring that these crimes are punished severely.
- We need to continue to work to prevent aggravated assault and to support victims of this crime.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of aggravated assault, please reach out for help. There are many resources available, including victim advocacy organizations and support groups.
HB 2015, Raising Permanent Jury Exemption Age
Currently, people who are 70 years old or older can apply for a permanent exemption from jury duty in Texas. House Bill 2015 would raise the age threshold for qualifying for a permanent exemption to 75 years, which is the mandatory retirement age for Texas judges and justices.
The bill’s sponsor, Representative Andrew Murr, said that the current law is outdated and that it is unfair to exempt people from jury duty simply because they are old. He argued that older people can still be intelligent and capable jurors, and that they should not be excluded from serving their community.
The bill has been met with some opposition from older Texans who worry that it will make it more difficult for them to get out of jury duty. However, the bill’s supporters argue that it is necessary to ensure that all Texans have an equal opportunity to serve on juries.
The bill is still pending in the Texas legislature, and it is unclear whether it will be passed. However, it has sparked a debate about the role of older people in jury duty and the fairness of the current system.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- Jury duty is a civic duty that is essential to the American justice system.
- Older people can be just as capable as younger people of serving on juries.
- However, there are some concerns that older people may not be able to handle the physical and emotional demands of jury duty.
The debate over House Bill 2015 is a complex one. There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue. Ultimately, it is up to the Texas legislature to decide whether or not to pass the bill.
HB 1760, Clarification on Gun-Free School Zones
Under current Texas law, it is illegal to carry a weapon on the grounds or buildings of a school or educational institution where a school-sponsored activity is taking place. However, this law is not clear about what happens when a school-sponsored activity takes place in a location that is not owned or controlled by the school.
For example, a school may take a field trip to a museum or a park. Or, a school may hold a sporting event at a stadium that is not owned by the school. In these cases, it is not clear whether it is illegal to carry a weapon on the premises where the activity is taking place.
HB 1760 clarifies the law by specifying that it is only illegal to carry a weapon on the premises of a school or educational institution if the premises are owned or controlled by the school or institution. This means that it would not be illegal to carry a weapon on the premises of a museum or a park if the school is taking a field trip there, or on the premises of a stadium if the school is holding a sporting event there.
The bill also clarifies that the term “school-sponsored activity” includes any activity that is sponsored by a school or educational institution, even if it is not taking place on the school’s property. This means that it would be illegal to carry a weapon at a school-sponsored event that is taking place in a hotel or a restaurant, for example.
House Bill 1760 is a common-sense measure that will help to protect students and school staff from gun violence. It is a step in the right direction to make our schools safer.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- The bill was sponsored by Representative Matt Krause, who said that it was necessary to clarify the law in order to protect students and school staff from gun violence.
- The bill was passed by the Texas legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
- The law is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2023.
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