Public Safety

H.B. 124 (Anderson/Campbell) – Salvia:  makes salvia divinorum, and its derivatives and extracts, subject to Penalty Group 3 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act, but exempts the unharvested plant from this prohibition.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 232 (Guillen/Zaffirini) – Alcohol Offenses:  provides that: (1) a court may allow a defendant convicted of certain alcohol offenses who resides in a county with a population of 75,000 or less where access to an alcohol awareness program is not readily available, to either: (a) take an online alcohol awareness course; or (b) perform not less than eight hours of community service related to alcohol abuse prevention or treatment; (2) a court may consider the defendant to be a resident of a county where the defendant is enrolled in an institution of higher education, for purposes of (1), above; (3) if the court does not consider the defendant to be a resident of the county in which the institution is located, the defendant’s residence is: (a) the residence listed on the defendant’s driver’s license; (b) the residence on the voter registration certificate, if the defendant does not have a driver’s license; (c) the residence on file with the public school district on which the defendant’s enrollment is based, if the defendant is not registered to vote; or (d) determined by commission rule, if the defendant is not enrolled in public school.  (Effective immediately.)    

H.B. 347 (Pitts) – Cell Phone Ban: this bill: (1) prohibits a motor vehicle operator from using a wireless communication device on the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school for which a local authority has designated a school crossing zone, during the time a reduced speed limit is in effect; and (2) preempts all local ordinances, rules, or regulations that are inconsistent with (1), above, unless a city ordinance or rule prohibits the use of wireless communication devices while operating a motor vehicle throughout the jurisdiction of the city. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 434 (Riddle/Whitmire) – Blood Specimens: allows a licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic to take a blood specimen if authorized by the medical director for the entity that employs the technician-intermediate or technician-paramedic.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

H.B. 487 (Bell/Nichols) – Emergency Management: provides that: (1) a city council, fire chief, or city emergency management director or coordinator may request or accept any care, assistance, or advice related to the loan or operation of a private individual’s construction or heavy equipment if needed for a hazardous or emergency situation; (2) an individual who gives such assistance or loan of equipment on request of the city or whose assistance is accepted by the city,  is immune from civil liability, except in a case of reckless conduct or intentional, willful, or wanton misconduct; and (3) a city is prohibited from accepting the assistance if it is in violation of any other law or contractual agreement. (Effective Immediately.)

H.B. 555 (Callegari/West) – Metal Recycling: provides that: (1) a person commits an offense if the person violates state law or a rule adopted under state law, including a rule, charter, or ordinance adopted, an order issued, or a standard imposed by a county, city, or political subdivision; (2) an offense under the bill is a Class C misdemeanor; and (3) if conduct that constitutes an offense under the bill also constitutes an offense under existing state law, a person may be prosecuted only under that existing law.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 567 (W. Smith/Nichols) – Emergency Vehicles:  expands the definition “authorized emergency vehicles” to any vehicle used by certain licensed emergency medical services providers, even if the vehicle is not a traditional ambulance, for purposes of suspending the rules of the road and parking restrictions when the vehicle is on emergency calls.  (Effective Immediately.)

H.B. 625 (Harper-Brown/Carona) – License Plates:  reenacts the provision making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $200 to operate a vehicle without the required license plates.  (Note:  Legislation in a past session inadvertently removed a section of law that set a fine for operating a vehicle without license plates. That removal made it unclear whether a peace officer could cite a person or operating a vehicle without a front (or even rear) license plate.  This bill simply goes back to the law before the inadvertent repeal.) (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

H.B. 712 (Murphy/Patrick) – Firefighting Equipment:  requires a volunteer fire department, in a county of 350,000 or more, to maintain in good working order firefighting equipment provided to it by the county.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 912 (Gooden/Estes) – Drones: limits the ability of a person, including a city, to use an unmanned “drone” aircraft to capture images.  Of particular interest to cities and law enforcement, the bill provides that:

  1. a person commits an Class C misdemeanor if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image;
  2. a person commits an Class B misdemeanor if the person captures an image in violation of (1), above, and discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses that image;
  3. other than to prove a violation of the bill, an image captured in violation of (1), above, or an image captured by an unmanned aircraft that was incidental to the lawful capturing of an image: (a) may not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding; (b) is not subject to disclosure, inspection, or copying under the Public Information Act; and (c) is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release;
  4. an owner or tenant of privately owned real property located in this state may bring against a person who, in violation of the bill, captured an image of the property or the owner or tenant while on the property an action to: (a) enjoin a violation or imminent violation of the bill; (b) recover a civil penalty of up to $10,000; or (c) recover actual damages if the person who captured the image in violation of the bill discloses, displays, or distributes the image with malice;
  5. the bill does not apply to the following uses of a drone: (a) if the image is captured by or for an electric or natural gas utility: (i) for operations and maintenance of utility facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity; (ii) for inspecting utility facilities to determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and after construction of such facilities; (iii) for assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements; and (iv) for utility facility routing and siting for the purpose of providing utility service; (b) with the consent of the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image; (c) pursuant to a valid search or arrest warrant; (d) if the image is captured by a law enforcement authority or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement authority: (i) in immediate pursuit of a person law enforcement officers have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to suspect has committed an offense, not including misdemeanors or offenses punishable by a fine only; (ii) for the purpose of documenting a crime scene where an offense, not including misdemeanors or offenses punishable by a fine only, has been committed; (iii) for the purpose of investigating the scene of a human fatality, a motor vehicle accident causing death or serious bodily injury to a person, or any motor vehicle accident on a state highway or federal interstate or highway; (iv) in connection with the search for a missing person; (v) for the purpose of conducting a high-risk tactical operation that poses a threat to human life; or (vi) of private property that is generally open to the public where the property owner consents to law enforcement public safety responsibilities; (e) if the image is captured by state or local law enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of: (i) surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared; (ii) preserving public safety, protecting property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully declared state of emergency; or (iii) conducting routine air quality sampling and monitoring, as provided by state or local law; (f) at the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of hazardous materials; (g) for the purpose of fire suppression; (h) for the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or well-being is in imminent danger; (i) of real property or a person on real property that is within 25 miles of the United States border; (j) from a height no more than eight feet above ground level in a public place, if the image was captured without using any electronic, mechanical, or other means to amplify the image beyond normal human perception; (k) of public real property or a person on that property; (l) if the image is captured by the owner or operator of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real property located in this state;
  6. the Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules and guidelines for use of an unmanned aircraft by a law enforcement authority in this state;
  7. not earlier than January 1 and not later than January 15 of each odd-numbered year, each state law enforcement agency and each county or municipal law enforcement agency located in a county or municipality, as applicable, with a population greater than 150,000, that used or operated an unmanned aircraft during the preceding 24 months shall issue a written report to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and each member of the legislature and shall post the report on the law enforcement agency's publicly accessible website, if one exists; and
  8. the report required by (7), above, must include: (a) the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used, organized by date, time, location, and the types of incidents and types of justification for the use; (b) the number of criminal investigations aided by the use of an unmanned aircraft and a description of how the unmanned aircraft aided each investigation; (c) the number of times an unmanned aircraft was used for a law enforcement operation other than a criminal investigation, the dates and locations of those operations, and a description of how the unmanned aircraft aided each operation; (d) the type of information collected on an individual, residence, property, or area that was not the subject of a law enforcement operation and the frequency of the collection of this information; and (e) the total cost of acquiring, maintaining, repairing, and operating or otherwise using each unmanned aircraft for the preceding 24 months.

(Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 970 (E. Rodriguez/Deuell) – Cottage Food Regulation:  provides that: (1) additional items are added to the list of cottage foods, including candy, nuts, snacks, nut butters, pies, and other items, meaning the production and sale of these items cannot be regulated by a city or local health department; (2) a city cannot prohibit the use of a home for cottage food production through zoning; (3) a person can bring a nuisance or other tort action against an individual arising out of the individual’s use of their home for cottage food production; (4) a person who operates a cottage food production operation must have completed a food safety education course or food handler accreditation course or be supervised by someone who has the educational requirements; and (5) a cottage food production may not sell potentially hazardous foods such as some proteins, baked goods, raw milk products, or ice products; a city, local governmental entity, or a local health department is prohibited from regulating a cottage food production operation. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1009 (Villalba/Patrick) – School Marshals: creates the position of school marshal and allows a school marshal to make arrests and exercise all authority given to peace officers, except the ability to issue a traffic citation, subject to written regulations adopted by the board of trustees of a school district.  (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 1206 (Parker/Huffman) – Missing Children:  requires a local law enforcement agency – upon receiving a report that a child’s whereabouts are unknown and indications are that the child was taken or retained without permission of the custodian for a period of not less than 48 hours – to: (1) immediately make a reasonable effort to locate and determine the well-being of the child; (2) notify the Department of Family and Protective Services, after locating the child, if the agency has reason to believe the child is a victim of abuse or neglect; and (3) use its discretion in deciding whether to take possession of the child as authorized by law.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1222 (Turner/West) – Water Safety Offenses: grants jurisdiction to a municipal court over water safety offenses under the Parks and Wildlife Code.  (Effective immediately.)  

H.B. 1272 (Thompson/Van de Putte) – Trafficking of Persons:  requires:  (1) a state or local law enforcement agency, district attorney, or county attorney that assists in the prevention of human trafficking to cooperate with and assist the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force in collecting statistical data on the nature and extent of human trafficking in the possession of the agency or attorney; (2) the task force to collect certain data regarding human trafficking and ensure that each state or local law enforcement agency, district attorney, or county attorney collects certain data regarding human trafficking; (3) that human trafficking data collected include information about the routes by which victims are trafficked across the state’s international border; and (4) that the task force work the with Texas Education Agency, Department of Family and Protective Services, and Health and Human Services Commission to develop a list of indicators that a person is a victim of human trafficking and develop a curriculum for training to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.  (Effective immediately.)     

H.B. 1294 (Price/Seliger) – Child Safety Seats: requires, in order to claim a defense for failure to secure a child in a safety seat, that the defendant, at the time of the offense, was not arrested or issued a citation for violation of any other offense; the defendant did not possess a child safety seat in the vehicle; the vehicle was not involved in an accident; and subsequent to the time of the offense, the defendant obtained an appropriate child safety seat.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1382 (Simpson/Deuell) – Farmers’ Markets:  provides that: (1) with some exceptions, that a city or local health department cannot regulate the sale of food samples provided to consumers at a farm or farmers’ market; (2) the state is prohibited from adopting a regulation or statute regulating the provision of samples at a farm or farmers’ market; (3) a city or local health department cannot require a permit or fee for a cooking demonstration or the provision of samples, so long as the activity is conducted for a bona fide educational purpose; (4) a city or local health department can continue to permit temporary food service establishments at farmers markets; (5) a person giving out meat samples must meet the state law requirements of labeling, inspection, and regulation of meat products; and (6) the preparation and distribution of samples of food at a farm or farmers’ market must meet certain sanitary conditions. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1421 (Perry/Estes) – Disposition of Seized Weapons:  provides that:  (1) a court may order, in certain instances, that a seized weapon be sold at a public sale or auction; (2) only a licensed firearms dealer may purchase a weapon at a public sale held under (1), above; and (3) the proceeds from the sale of a weapon under (1), above, must be transferred, after the deduction of court and auction costs, to the law enforcement agency holding the weapon.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1690 (Fletcher/Nelson) – Communicable Diseases:  grants: (1) a peace officer the authority to use reasonable force to restrain and hold certain individuals with communicable diseases to prevent the spread of communicable disease based on a court order; (2) a peace officer the right to secure a quarantine area; (3) a peace officer the authority to secure property subject to a court order based on health and safety concerns; (4) a judge or magistrate the authority to order an emergency services provider to transport an individual with a communicable disease to a hospital; and (5) a court the ability to impose a criminal penalty on an individual who is the subject of a protective custody order or a temporary detention order and who evades transport or otherwise resists the order.  (Effective Immediately.)

H.B. 1738 (Naishtat/Zaffirini) – Emergency Detention:  this bill:  (1) requires a peace officer who takes a person into custody under emergency detention to immediately inform the person orally in simple, nontechnical terms of the reason for the detention and that a staff member of a facility will inform the person of the person’s rights within 24 hours after the time the person is admitted to a facility; (2) requires a peace officer to provide a “notification of detention” to a facility to which the peace officer transports a person, and to include that notification in the person’s clinical file; (3) requires a “notification of detention” described in (2), above, to be in a specific form and include, among other things: (a) that the peace officer has reason to believe the person evidences mental illness; (b) that the peace officer believes the person evidences a substantial risk of serious harm to himself/herself or others; (c) that the peace officer believes the risk of harm is imminent; (d) specific information about the person’s behavior, acts, attempts, statements, or threats observed by the peace officer; and (e) specific information about third parties who reported or observed the person’s behavior; (4) prohibits a mental health facility or hospital emergency department from requiring a peace officer to execute any form other than the form described in (2), above, as a predicate to accepting for temporary admission a person under emergency detention; (5) requires a facility to temporarily accept a person for whom a peace officer files a “notification of detention;” (6) gives a person apprehended, detained, or transported for emergency detention the right to a reasonable opportunity to communicate with a relative or other responsible person who has a proper interest in the person’s welfare; and (7) requires the commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to prescribe by rule the manner in which a person described in (1), above, is informed of the person’s rights.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1813 (Lucio/Hinojosa) – Fireworks:  this bill: (1) prohibits a city from confiscating packaged, unopened fireworks; and (2) creates an affirmative defense to prosecution for possession of fireworks brought under a city ordinance if: (a) the defendant was operating or was a passenger in a motor vehicle being operated in a public place, and (b) the fireworks were not in the passenger area of the vehicle.  (Effective immediately.)       

H.B. 1862 (Dutton/Hinojosa) – Switchblade Knifes:  makes switchblades legal under Texas law. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1931 (Guillen/Estes) – Law Enforcement Pursuits: allows an attorney representing the state, defined as a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or county attorney, to use funds transferred from a city or county’s general fund to property owners whose property was damaged as a result of a pursuit involving a law enforcement agency. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1972 (Kleinschmidt/Hancock) – 9-1-1 Service: provides that: (1) a service provider of communications service, a manufacturer of equipment used, a developer of software for, a third party or other entity involved in providing 9-1-1 service, or an officer, director, or employee of the provider, manufacturer, developer, third party, or other entity involved in providing 9-1-1 service is not liable for any claim, damage, or loss arising from the provision of 9-1-1 service, unless the act or omission proximately causing the claim, damage, or loss constitutes gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct; (2) information that a service provider of communication service is required to furnish to a governmental entity, including a regional planning commission, emergency communications district, or public safety answering point, in providing 9-1-1 service or that a service provider, third party, or other entity voluntarily furnishes at the request of a governmental entity in providing 9-1-1 service is confidential; and (3) extends certain 9-1-1 service offenses to a person that requests 9-1-1 service or emergency assistance using an electronic communications device.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1973 (Lucio/Hegar) – Fire Protection:  relates to the fire flow of a “utility” (defined as a water supply corporation or an investor owned utility) and provides that:

  1. a city by ordinance may adopt by ordinance standards set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requiring a utility to maintain a minimum sufficient water flow and pressure to fire hydrants in a residential area located in the city or the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction;
  2. the standards created by the commission: (a) in addition to a utility's maximum daily demand, must provide, for purposes of emergency fire suppression, for a minimum sufficient water flow of at least 250 gallons per minute for at least two hours and  a minimum sufficient water pressure of at least 20 pounds per square inch; (b) must require a utility to maintain at least the minimum sufficient water flow and pressure described by (a), above, in fire hydrants in a residential area located within the city or the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction; and (c) must be based on the density of connections, service demands, and other relevant factors;
  3. if the city owns a municipal utility, the commission standards may not require another utility located in the city or the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction to provide water flow and pressure in a fire hydrant greater than that provided by the municipal utility as determined by the commission;
  4. if the city does not own a municipal utility, may not require a utility located in the city or the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction to provide a minimum sufficient water flow and pressure greater than the standard established under (1)(a), above;
  5. an ordinance may not require a utility to build, retrofit, or improve infrastructure in existence at the time the ordinance is adopted;
  6. a city other than the City of Houston that adopts an ordinance or that seeks to use a utility's water for fire suppression shall enter into a written memorandum of understanding with the utility to provide for the necessary testing of fire hydrants and other relevant issues pertaining to the use of the water and maintenance of the fire hydrants to ensure compliance with the bill;
  7. a city may notify the commission of a utility's failure to comply with an ordinance adopted under the bill;
  8. on receiving the notice, the commission shall require a utility in violation of a standard adopted under to comply within a reasonable time established by the commission. 
  9. a utility is not liable for a hydrant's or metal flush valve's inability to provide adequate water supply in a fire emergency.

(Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2090 (Canales/Hinojosa) – Custodial Interrogation:  permits written statements made by the accused to be made in a language the accused can read and understand.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

H.B. 2268 (Frullo/Carona) – Search Warrants: modifies the provisions in state law relating to search warrants issued in this state and other states for certain customer data, communications, and other information held in electronic storage by providers of electronic communications services and remote computing services, and:  (1) provides that a search warrant may be issued for electronic customer data held in electronic storage, including the contents of and records and other information related to a wire communication or electronic communication held in electronic storage; (2) requires a search warrant issued as a result of a court order to obtain access to stored communications be executed not later than the 11th day after the date of issuance; (3) defines various terms, including “electronic storage,” “domestic entity,” and “electronic customer data;” (4) provides that a peace officer may require a provider of an electronic communications service or provider of remote computing service to disclose electronic customer data that is in electronic storage by obtaining a warrant; (5) provides that on the filing of an application by a peace officer for a warrant to obtain electronic customer data, including the contents of a wire communication or electronic communication, a district judge may issue a warrant regardless of whether the customer data is held in this state or another state so long as the application demonstrates sufficient probable cause for issuance of a warrant and is supported by an oath or affirmation of the officer; (6) limits the electronic customer data that may be seized under (5), above, to that described in the sworn affidavit; (7) allows the affidavit described in (5), above, to be sealed; (8) allows the warrant under (5), above, to be served only on a service provider that is a domestic entity or a company or entity otherwise doing business in this state under a contract or a terms of service agreement with a resident of this state where any part of that contract or agreement is to be performed in this state; (9) requires a service provider to produce all the information sought under a warrant described in (5), above, regardless of where the information is held, and within the required time period, and provides that a failure to do so may result in contempt charges, but does not affect the admissibility of the evidence; (10) establishes when a search warrant described in (5), above, is served and the time in which a provider must comply with the warrant; (11) sets out the circumstances in which a provider may be required to verify the authenticity of the customer data, contents of communication or other information produced in response to a warrant issued under (5), above; (12) establishes post-service procedures in relation to a warrant issued under (5), above; (13) defines the term “adverse result” in relation to when a peace officer may seek to withhold notification of the existence of a warrant, subpoena, or court order to an electronic customer whose information is sought as described above; and (14) repeals Section 7, Article 18.21, Code of Criminal Procedures which relates to authorization for disclosure and use of intercepted communications. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 2539 (Turner/Davis) – Child Pornography:  provides that: (1) a computer technician who, in the course and scope of employment or business, views an image on a computer that is or appears to be child pornography is required to immediately report the discovery to local or state law enforcement or the “Cyber Tipline;” (2) a computer technician may not be held liable on account of any action taken in good faith to comply with (1), above; (3) it is a Class B misdemeanor to intentionally fail to comply with (1), above; and (4) it is a defense to prosecution that the actor did not report the discovery of an image of child pornography because the child in the image appeared to be at least 18 years old.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2690 (Elkins/Ellis) – Display of Motor Vehicles for Sale:  provides that: (1) if a person is acting as an unauthorized automobile dealer, a peace officer may cause a vehicle that is being offered for sale by the person to be towed from the location where the vehicle is being offered for sale and stored at a vehicle storage facility; (2) a peace officer may cause the vehicle to be towed under (1), above, only if: (a) the peace officer has a probable cause that the vehicle is being offered for sale by a person acting as an unauthorized automobile dealer; (b)  the peace officer has complied with the notice requirements under (3), below; and (c) the notice was attached to the vehicle not less than two hours before the vehicle is towed; (3) before a vehicle may be towed under (1), above, a peace officer, an appropriate local government employee, or an investigator employed by the Department of Motor Vehicles must attach a conspicuous notice to the vehicle stating: (a) the make and model of the vehicle and the license plate number and vehicle identification number of the vehicle, if any; (b) the date and time that the notice was affixed to the vehicle; (c) that the vehicle is being offered for sale in violation of law; (d) that the vehicle and any property on or in the vehicle may be towed and stored at the expense of the owner of the vehicle not less than two hours after the notice is attached to the vehicle if the vehicle remains parked at the location; and (e) the name, address, and telephone number of the vehicle storage facility where the vehicle will be towed.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2741 (Phillips/Nichols) – Motor Vehicles:  makes various changes regarding the regulation of motor vehicles by counties and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Interesting to cities are provisions:  (1) prohibiting a justice of the peace or municipal judge from issuing a court-ordered title change except as authorized in relation to the disposition of stolen property, the foreclosure of a mortgage, or the enforcement of a lien; (2) providing that for registration purposes, the method of calculating the weight of a city bus is modified; (3) providing that a court may dismiss a charge for operating a vehicle without a registration insignia if the defendant pays an administrative fee not to exceed $10 and remedies the defect before the defendant’s first court appearance; (4) providing that a court may dismiss certain license plate charges if the defendant pays an administrative fee not to exceed $10 and remedies the defect before the first court appearance, or shows that the vehicle was issued a plate by the DMV that was attached to the vehicle and thus, establishing that the vehicle was registered for the period during which the offense was committed; (5) adding new offenses related to registration insignia and license plates that are deceptively similar to those issued by the DMV; (6) authorizing a person to operate a neighborhood electric vehicle in a master planned community, on a public or private beach, or on a public highway with a speed limit of not more than 35 mph if the vehicle is operated during the daytime and not more than two miles from where the vehicle is usually parked and for transportation to and from a golf course; (7) a person commits an offense if the person with criminal negligence uses, purchases, possesses, manufactures, sells, offers to sell, or otherwise distributes a license plate flipper; (8) providing that, if the state has issued a permit to a ready-mix concrete truck, the truck can use state, county, and municipal roads, and the governing body of a county or municipality may no longer require the owner of a ready-mixed concrete truck to file a surety bond conditioned that the owner of the truck will pay to the county or municipality any damage to a road caused by the operation of the truck with a tandem axle weight that is heavier than 34,000 pounds; (9) prohibiting a county or city from requiring a permit, bond, fee, or license for the movement of a vehicle or vehicles or any load carried by those vehicles that exceeds the weight or size limits on the state highway system in the county or city; and (10) authorizing a peace officer to inspect a military identification and requiring a peace officer to destroy certain disabled parking placards and report the same to the DMV.  (Effective September 1, 2013, with provisions related to license plate flippers effective immediately.) 

H.B. 2825 (King/Seliger) – Sex Offender Registration:  this bill:  (1) allows any county to establish a countywide/centralized sex offender registration location; (2) provides that a sex offender must perform registration and verification requirements and change of address requirements only with respect to a centralized registration authority described in (1), above, regardless of whether the person resides in a city; and (3) provides that the provisions in (1), and (2), above, do not affect a person’s duty to register with certain secondary sex offender registries.  (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 3178 (Phillips/Estes) – Mutual Aid: provides that: (1) a verbal request for mutual aid assistance be later submitted in writing, but that the written request can be submitted any time after the verbal request; and (2) a requesting political subdivision, including a city, does not have to reimburse a responding governmental entity providing mutual aid assistance under the Texas Statewide Mutual Aid System during a disaster if the assistance is for less than 12 hours. (Effective Immediately.)

H.B. 3556 (Kolkhorst/Nelson) – Emergency Medical Services:  imposes various operational conditions and licensing requirements on non-governmental emergency medical service (EMS) providers, and requires an EMS provider applicant to obtain a letter of approval from the city council in which the applicant is located that can be granted only if:  (1) the addition of another licensed EMS provider will not interfere with or adversely affect the provision of EMS by licensed providers operating in the city; (2) the addition of another licensed EMS provider will remedy an existing provider shortage that cannot be resolved through the use of the licensed providers operating in the city; and (3) the addition of another licensed EMS provider will not cause an oversupply of licensed EMS providers in the city.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 8 (Nelson/Kolkhorst) – Emergency Medical Services:  this is an omnibus Medicaid bill.  Of interest to cities, the bill requires non-governmental emergency medical services providers to obtain a letter of approval from a city before operating within the city and requires the provider to meet certain criteria before the city can issue the letter. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 171 (West/Pickett) – Emergency Management Study:  requires the governor’s emergency management division to establish a workgroup, including local government officials, to determine if a uniform application form requesting assistance after a disaster from a state agency can be developed.  (Effective Immediately.)

S.B. 299 (Estes/Sheets) – Unlawful Carrying of Handgun: provides that: (1) it is unlawful for a concealed handgun license (CHL) holder to intentionally display (rather than “fail to conceal”) a handgun in plain view of another person in a public place; and (2) it is a defense to prosecution under (1) that the CHL holder, at the time of the commission of the offense, displayed the handgun under circumstances in which the actor would have been justified in the use of force or deadly force. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 367 (Whitmire/Murphy) – Seized Property:  provides that:  (1) if personal property, other than money and certain other contraband, is seized by a peace officer at the time the owner of the property is arrested for a Class C misdemeanor offense, the law enforcement agency may provide notice to the owner at the time the owner is taken into or released from custody, including:  (a) a description of the property being held; (b) the address where the property is being held; and (c) a statement that if the owner does not claim the property before the 31st day after the date the owner is released from custody, the property will be disposed of and the proceeds, after deducting certain reasonable expenses, will be placed in the treasury of the city; (2) on receiving the notice described in (1), above, the owner must sign and attach a thumbprint to the notice; and (3) the city purchasing agent or a person designated by the city may sell or donate the property described in (1), above, without mailing or publishing additional notice, and must deposit the proceeds in the treasury of the city after deducting reasonable expenses for keeping and disposing of the property. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 510 (Nichols/Martinez) – Passing Certain Vehicles:  this bill:  (1) requires that a vehicle operator passing certain other vehicles, including a Texas Department of Transportation vehicle not separated from the roadway by a traffic control channeling device and using visual signals, vacate the lane closest to the other vehicle or slow down to a specified speed; and (2) defines “traffic control channelizing device” to mean equipment used to warn and alert drivers of conditions created by work activities in or near the traveled way, to protect workers in a temporary traffic control zone, and to guide drivers and pedestrians safely.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 670 (Whitmire/Turner) – Juvenile Records:  provides that the records and files of a juvenile court, a clerk of the court, a juvenile probation department, or a prosecuting attorney relating to a child who is a party to a proceeding may be inspected or copied only by: (1) the judge; (2) a juvenile justice agency; (3) an attorney; (4) an agency providing supervision of the child; or (5) other individuals deemed necessary by the juvenile court.  (Effective immediately.) 

S.B. 686 (Huffman/Villalba) – Commission on Law Enforcement:  changes the name of the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.  (Effective Immediately.)

S.B. 742 (Carona/Frullo) – Child Abductions: requires, among other things, that: (1) a local law enforcement agency immediately, but not later than eight hours after receiving a report of an attempted child abduction, provide any relevant information regarding the attempted child abduction to the state clearinghouse and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; (2) the public safety director of the Department of Public Safety adopt rules regarding the procedures for a local law enforcement agency that receives a report of a missing child who:  (a) has been reported missing on four or more occasions in the 24-month period preceding the date of the current report; or (b) is in foster care or the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services and has been reported missing on two or more occasions in the 24-month period preceding the date of the current report; and (3) officers seeking an intermediate or advanced proficiency certificate after January 1, 2015, complete an education and training program on missing or exploited children.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 764 (Watson/T. King) – Prescribed Burning:  provides that an owner, lessee, or occupant of agricultural land or conservation land is not liable for property damage or for injury or death to persons caused by or resulting from prescribed burning conducted on the land if: (1) the burning is conducted under the supervision of a certified and insured prescribed burn manager; or (2) the owner, lessee, or occupant is a governmental unit, including a city, that has a self-insurance program for a certain amount of coverage. (Effective Immediately.)

S.B. 877 (Patrick) – Citizens’ Star of Texas Award: creates the Citizens’ Star of Texas Award to be awarded to a private citizen or surviving next of kin who is seriously injured while aiding or attempting to aid a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical first responder in the performance of duties of the officer, firefighter, or first responder. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 878 (Patrick/Carter) – Criminal Asset Forfeiture:  provides that forfeiture funds received by a law enforcement agency can be used solely for a “law enforcement purpose,” which is defined to mean an expenditure made for an activity of a law enforcement agency that relates to the criminal and civil enforcement of the laws of this state, including an expenditure made for: (a) equipment, including vehicles, computers, firearms, protective body armor, furniture, software, uniforms, and maintenance equipment; (b) supplies, including office supplies, mobile phone and data account fees for employees, and Internet services; (c) investigative and training-related travel expenses, including payment for hotel rooms, airfare, meals, rental of and fuel for a motor vehicle, and parking; (d) conferences and training expenses, including fees and materials; (e) investigative costs, including payments to informants and lab expenses; (f) crime prevention and treatment programs; (g) facility costs, including building purchase, lease payments, remodeling and renovating, maintenance, and utilities; (h) witness-related costs, including travel and security; and (i) audit costs and fees, including audit preparation and professional fees.   (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 987 (Hegar/Harless) – Gun Regulation: authorizes the attorney general to seek a temporary or permanent injunction against a city or county that regulates firearms or sport shooting ranges in a way that is contrary to state laws.  (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1010 (Taylor/Bonnen) – Search and Rescue Dogs: this bill: (1) prohibits a public facility from denying a search and rescue dog or the dog’s handler admittance because of the presence of the dog; (2) provides that the discrimination prohibited by the bill includes:  (a) refusing to allow a search and rescue dog or the dog’s handler to use or be admitted to a public facility; (b) engaging in a ruse or subterfuge calculated to prevent or discourage a search and rescue dog or the dog’s handler from using or being admitted to a public facility; and (c) failing to make a reasonable accommodation in a policy, practice, or procedure to allow a search and rescue dog or the dog’s handler from being admitted to a public facility; (3) prohibits a public facility from adopting a policy that relates to the use of a public facility by a designated class of persons from the general public that prohibits the use of the particular public facility by a search and rescue dog or the dog’s handler; (4) provides criminal penalties for violating the prohibitions set out above and makes it a defense to prosecution that the actor requested the search and rescue dog handler’s credentials and the handler failed to provide them; (5) requires a search and rescue dog handler to keep the dog harnessed or leashed, and allows a person to maintain a cause of action against a dog’s handler for personal injury, property damage, or death resulting from a failure to properly leash or harness the dog under the same laws applicable to other causes brought for the redress of injuries caused by animals; (6) provides that a handler is liable for any property damage caused by the search and rescue dog to a public facility or housing accommodation; (7) provides that a governmental unit and a public servant are liable under the bill only to the extent provided by certain provisions of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code (the “Tort Claims Act”); and (8) allows a person to ask a search and rescue dog handler to display proof that the handler is a person with a certification issued by the National Association for Search and Rescue or another state or nationally recognized search and rescue agency.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1053 (Carona/Guillen) – Vehicle Towing:  requires that a notice by mail sent to the registered owner and primary lienholder of a vehicle that the vehicle has been towed to a facility must include the facility license number preceded by “TDLR VSF Lic. No.”  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1189 (Huffman/Fletcher) – Disposition of Seized Firearms: this bill:  (1) authorizes a peace officer who takes a person into custody without a warrant under mental illness emergency detention to immediately seize any firearm found in possession of the person; and (2) provides numerous procedures related to such seizures, including provisions for release and/or disposal. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1267 (Nichols/Clardy) – Fire Suppression: grants immunity to an individual assisting the Texas Forest Service in fire suppression or fire investigation on private land. (Effective Immediately.)

S.B. 1400 (Estes/Geren) – Air Guns: provides that a city may not adopt or enforce a regulation relating to the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of an air gun or an accessory for an air gun or the discharge of an air gun at a sport shooting range.  (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1451 (Hinojosa/Sheets) – Contraband:  this bill:  (1) allows substitute property to be seized under authority of a search warrant if property that is contraband: (a) can no longer be located after the exercise of reasonable diligence; (b) has been transferred, conveyed, sold to, or deposited with a person other than the owner or interest holder; (c) is not within the jurisdiction of the court; (d) has substantially diminished in value; (e) has been comingled with other property and cannot be readily distinguished or separated; or (f) is a certain type of proceed use to acquire other property that is not within the jurisdiction of the court; (2) allows a district court to issue a search warrant authorizing a peace officer to seize substitute property described in (1), above, if the officer submits an affidavit that states:  (a) probable cause for the commission of an offense giving rise to forfeiture of contraband; (b) a description of the contraband involved and the estimated current fair market value of the substitute property to be seized; (c) the reasons the contraband is unavailable for forfeiture; (d) probable cause to believe the owner of the substitute property owned or had an interest in contraband with an aggregate value of $200,000 or more in connection with the commission of an underlying offense giving rise to the forfeiture; and (e) that due diligence has been exercised in identifying the minimum amount of substitute property necessary to approximate the estimated highest fair market value of the contraband during the period in which the owner of the substitute property owned, or had an interest in, the contraband; (3) requires that in a situation described in (1), above, an attorney for the state prove by a preponderance of the evidence: (a) that contraband was subject to seizure and forfeiture; (b) the highest fair market value of that contraband; (c) the fair market value of any substituted property; and (d) that the owner of the substituted property owned or had an interest in contraband with an aggregate value of $200,000 or more in connection with the commission of an underlying offense giving rise to the forfeiture; (4) requires a peace officer who identifies contraband, other than real property, that is located outside of this state to provide the state’s attorney a sworn statement identifying the contraband and the reasons the contraband is subject to seizure and, upon receipt of the sworn statement, allows the state’s to attorney to file a notice of intended forfeiture in certain district courts; (5) requires a state’s attorney acting under (4), above, to request citation be served on a person who owns or is in possession or control of the contraband and allows the attorney to request a court order to have the contraband returned or delivered to an agent of this state; (6) provides that if a person is found, after receiving a citation described in (5), above, to transport, conceal, dispose of, or prevent the seizure and forfeiture of the contraband, a court may take certain actions, including, ordering the person in contempt and imposing certain fines and confinement; (7) requires a peace officer who identifies proceeds gained from the commission of certain offenses to provide the state’s attorney with an affidavit that identifies the amount of the proceeds and that states probable cause that the proceeds are contraband subject to forfeiture; (8) allows the state’s attorney, upon receipt of an affidavit described in (7), above, to file for a judgment in the amount of the proceeds in certain district courts and, if the court determines probable cause exists, the court must order the citation be served on all defendants named in the suit; and (9) for purposes of a money laundering offense, defines “funds” to include a stored value card and defines “proceeds” to include funds used in the commission of an act or an offense.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1889 (Eltife/Lavender) – Transport of Mental Health Patient:  requires the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services to enter into a reciprocal agreement with another state or a local authority of another state to facilitate the return of persons committed to mental health facilities in this state to their state of residence, so long as  the terms of the agreement are acceptable, and requires the department to coordinate, as appropriate, with a mental health facility, a mental hospital, health service providers, courts, and law enforcement personnel located in the geographic area nearest the petitioning state.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

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