KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 2, 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
This weekend, new laws took effect in Texas including a stricter law against stealing packages, also known as porch piracy. Other laws now allow residents to carry brass knuckles, and receive alcohol deliveries at their homes.
New Laws in Lone Star State
Several new laws are now in effect in Texas. They range from porch package theft to a new age requirement for purchasing tobacco products. Read below to see the new laws about brass knuckles, public breast feeding and more.
Nude Photos - It is now illegal to send nude photos to someone who didn't request them.
Alcohol Delivery - Alcohol can now be delivered from restaurants, businesses, or bars with the proper license. The delivery must be carried out by someone over 21 years of age. This means that popular delivery services such as Instacart can now deliver alcohol.
Brass Knuckles - It is now legal to carry brass knuckles.
New Age to Buy Tobacco Products - Customers must now be 21 years of age to purchase any tobacco products, including vape pens.
Telemarketers - Telemarketers are banned from calling Texans using fake numbers that show up on the recipient's caller ID.
Medical Bills - A new law was passed to help patients manage unexpected medical bills when health care providers and insurance companies can't agree on a payment. Under the new law, disputes will go into a state-overseen arbitration process that will keep patients out of the fight.
Lemonade Stands - Children's lemonade stands are legal, and cannot be shut down by neighborhood regulations or HOA's.
Breast Feeding - Women can now breast feed or pump breast milk wherever they want.
Handguns During Disaster - In the week following a government-issued disaster anyone can carry a handgun even without a license.
Stricter Laws Against Porch Piracy
Porch Piracy continues to grow as a problem and has been an issue that has continued to affect the Katy community. Now such theft is considered a felony by the new Texas law.
Porch Piracy Problem Continues to Grow
Nationwide, an estimated 11 million homes had packages stolen during 2017. This problem continued last holiday season. Time is of the essence in package delivery. Although the thieves don't follow delivery trucks closely, they watch to see what streets they are going down, wait an appropriate amount of time to see if the homeowner is present and then go in for the steal. Constable Ted Heap estimated the window between delivery and theft was short.
"These crimes are serious and the charges should be appropriately serious too," said Constable Ted Heap. "Our deputies take pride in protecting the residents of our precinct from these thieves who have no right to steal from our homes and businesses."
Thieves caught stealing from more than 50 people will be charged with a first degree felony. Those who steal from more than 20 victims will face second degree charges and, even if they steal from less than 10 victims, it's still considered a state felony.
Punishment under the new House Bill 37 ranges from six months to 10 years in prison and includes a fine of between $4,000 and $10,000. In addition, charges can be upgraded for cases that include identity theft or disabled or elderly victims.