Laws Passed Which Became Effective in September 2019

New Laws Effective September 1, 2019
New Laws Effective September 1, 2019

No, there were no changes in the parole requirements for 3g offenses (violent offenses). A person still has to serve 50% of their time before they even become eligible for parole if the conviction was for a violent crime.

When Laws are Passed and Become Effective

Every year Texas Parole lawyers and the offices of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles are inundated with calls regarding the situation above and other “new laws” which prison gossip has said were passed. These rumors almost always involve shortened parole time and almost all of them are false. Since the Texas Legislature only meets every two years in odd numbered years, no laws are changed or enacted in even numbered years.

However, to make it easier to see the actual changes or additions to the law we are setting forth the ones which will be affecting incarcerated individuals and potential parolees. These were passed in 2019 and became effective in September of 2019. Please note we are NOT addressing the hundreds of bills proposed and which did not make it out of committee or which were vetoed by the ultra conservative governor.

Laws Passed in 2019

In Texas, almost all laws which are passed become effective in September of the year they are passed, as is the case with the following laws. These explanations are those contained in official publications and are not being interpreted by us in any way.

HB 650 – The law sets up a program to train staff to assist pregnant inmates and to provide education and parenting skills to the inmate.

HB 812 – An inmate confined in a facility operated by or under contract with the department, other than a halfway house, who initiates a visit to a health care provider shall pay a health care services fee to the department in the amount of $3.00 per visit.

HB 918 – TDCJ shall supply to a released inmate documentation to assist in the inmate obtaining employment by supplying him or her a copy of the inmate’s job training record, copy of the inmate’s work record, and any trade learned by the inmate.

HB 1342 – House Bill 1342 amends the Occupations Code to set out and revise provisions regarding the eligibility for certain occupational licenses for a person who has been convicted of an offense. The bill removes as grounds for disqualification for an occupational license a conviction for an offense that does not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation and that was committed less than five years before the date the person applies for the applicable license. Among other provisions, the bill requires a licensing authority to provide written notice and allow a person to submit relevant information to the authority before the authority may deny the person a license or the opportunity to be examined for a license based on the person’s prior conviction of an offense. The bill requires the state auditor, in collaboration with licensing authorities, to develop a best practice guide for an applicant with a prior conviction to use when applying for a license and to publish the guide on the state auditor’s website. The bill also provides for the issuance of restricted licenses for air conditioning and refrigeration contractors and electricians as an alternative to denying, revoking, suspending, or refusing to issue or renew a license under certain circumstances.

HB 1343 – The law states that a person commits an offense if while confined in a correctional facility contacts by letter, telephone, or any other means, either directly or through a third party, a victim of the offense or member of the victim’s family if the director of the correctional facility has not, before the person makes contact with the victim, received a written and dated consent to communicate with the victim, victims family, or member of the victims family liable for a criminal offense.

HB 3227 – This Law makes available certain programs for female inmates which are presently available to male inmates.

SB 719 – This law, Lauren’s Law, amends current law relating to increasing the punishment for certain conduct constituting the offense of murder and providing for the prosecution of that conduct as capital murder. Example:  If an inmate murders another offender, the charge will, in all likelihood, be enhanced to capital murder.

SB 719 – This law increases the age of a victim for which a defendant can be prosecuted for a capital felony from under the age of 10 to under the age of 15. The House committee substitute added a provision stating that a defendant who is found guilty of this offense may not be sentenced to death, and the state may not seek the death penalty, in any case based solely on an offense under this subdivision.

Almost all of these were passed in response to specific cases and complaints which have been received by the legislators and their effect will not be known until any complaints make their way through the court system. However, anybody looking at these can assume the courts will take the most conservative approach possible.

Conclusion

Rather than relying or getting their hopes up based on prison rumors the incarcerated should instead look at the language of the actual laws. We try to keep those updated on the website once they are released for public viewing.

 

About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.