The Texas Legislature has finished up for the season, and there are some new criminal laws on the books. Here’s a snapshot at a few of them.
HB 910 & SB #11: Open Carry Laws
The open carry handgun law has changed for sharpshooters. Effective January 1, 2016, House Bill 910 now permits folks with concealed handgun licenses to openly carry a firearm in a holster, waist band or girder. Senate Bill No. 11 amends the Texas Government and Penal Codes to allow handgun license holders to carry a concealed handgun on both private and public universities, colleges and other independent higher learning institutions in the Lone Star state. This law will take effect on August 1, 2016. Plus, concealed handgun permits are now valid forms of identification in Texas.
HB 1424: Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Drug Manufacturing Offenders
The laws in Texas continue to get tougher in the state. In the past, the delivery and manufacture of controlled substances was a Class A misdemeanor. Now, if the defendant has a previous conviction for this, the crime is a felony with prison time under House Bill 1424. And if the defendant has two previous convictions for this crime, it is a third degree felony.
HB 1135: Revenge Porn Outlawed
In the world of revenge porn, there are new conditions that make this offense actionable in both criminal and civil court with State Bill 1135. If the visual, intimate material was disclosed without the party’s consent, the disclosure caused harm, the disclosure revealed the identity of the person or the material was not expected to be disclosed, that person can take legal action in both courts. This new law regarding the promotion of intimate visual material went into effect September 1, 2015.
HB 189: Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Extended for Sex Crime Victims
The statute of limitations for personal injury suits arising from sex crimes has increased with House Bill 189. Those parties who want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit from sex crimes like trafficking of persons, prostitution, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault now have five years before the statute of limitations is in effect. Children who are victims of a sex crime have 15 years to file a claim before the statute runs. And if the abuser has committed a similar sexual offense against 5+ victims, there is no criminal statute of limitations.
HB 2641: Dissemination of Confidential Health Information
It’s now a crime for the dissemination of confidential health information with the intent to violate provisions of the law according to House Bill 2641. The provisions of the law are only intended for confidential health information to be given to proper agencies. If a healthcare official violates this law, it is now designated as a Class A misdemeanor.