What New Legislation Is on the Horizon in 2021 in Texas?
As the last few months of 2020 begin to come to a close, everyone’s sights are set on 2021. This year has been historic, to say the least, with an international pandemic, racial protests across the United States, and a presidential election all happening in a matter of 12 months. With an eventful year like this one, it is no wonder that everyone is looking forward, Texas lawmakers included. The 87th Texas Legislature will not begin their next session until January; however, state lawmakers are already filing their legislative proposals for 2021, some of which touch on criminal law.
Looking Ahead With New Laws
On just the first day in which Texas lawmakers were able to file legislation, over 450 bills were filed in the House and Senate. According to reports from the Texas Tribune, an anticipated 1,000+ bills will be submitted during the legislative session, but only a few will be seen by the governor’s eyes. This session will be especially tough for lawmakers as COVID-19 leaves billions of dollars of shortfalls in its wake. Despite this, Texas legislators have forged ahead by proposing the following notable bills:
House Bill 25: It is no secret that the election brought up questions regarding the validity of mail-in ballots and potential criminal actions that could lead to an inaccurate and unfair election result. State Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, has proposed HB 25, which would prohibit the state or election officials from providing mail-in ballot applications to voters who did not request them. This bill was proposed in response to Harris County’s plan to send unrequested applications to over 1.9 million voters, in an attempt to reduce voter fraud moving forward.
House Bill 54: This past year has brought mass awareness to police brutality in a broader sense than ever. Proposed by state Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, the law would ban police agencies from collaborating with reality TV shows. This bill was prompted by a recent case. Javier Ambler died in 2019 after being tased by Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody. The officer was convicted of a felony for evidence tampering after the incident was caught on camera for a police reality show that has since been canceled.
House Bill 88: With similar motivators, this bill is known as the George Floyd Act—an homage to the Minneapolis man who lost his life due to police brutality this past summer. HB 88 is aimed at making policing and criminal justice reforms. There are not many more details available regarding this bill, but if it is passed, it could impact criminal law in Texas moving forward.
House Bill 103: State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, R-Odessa, addresses the issue of gun violence, establishing the “Texas Active Shooter Alert System” to inform Texans of an active shooter nearby. If approved, the bill would require cooperation from both the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to develop a system and plan for executing the alert system.
Contact a Plano, TX Criminal Defense Attorney
The above-mentioned bills address criminal offenses with voting, police brutality, and gun violence—and these are only four of the thousands that will be submitted. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our legal team remains up to date with all legislative changes, and we build our defense strategies to reflect these updates. We have more than 20 years of experience and have helped hundreds of people in Northern Texas receive not guilty verdicts or reduced charges. If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, reach out to our highly qualified Collin County criminal defense lawyers at 214-303-9600 and we will discuss the details of your case during your free consultation.