Just The News: A new law that goes into effect Sept. 1 will make Texas the first state to punish sex buyers with a felony.
HB 1540 was filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston). It passed both chambers of the state legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
The new law creates a separate offense for buying sex and raises the penalty to a state felony subject to jail time. It expands first-degree felony human trafficking to include certain actions related to obtaining victims from shelters or certain residential facilities. It also requires the state to deny some alcoholic beverage licenses and permits if drink solicitation occurs. It also amends provisions governing common nuisance lawsuits relating to prostitution and illegal massage operations, and amends provisions on civil racketeering relating to human trafficking.
The bill also includes a trespassing offense for those who traffic through a residential treatment center. Traffickers are targeting these centers, the House Research Organization bill analysis states, in order to lure and recruit children. The bill gives law enforcement “another tool to combat this through the trespassing statute and by expanding child safety, drug-free, and gang-free zones,” it states. more here