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Hundreds of new state laws take effect Sept. In this series, we take a look at a few that will impact the lives of Texans. A few years ago, Dallas resident and mother Brandy Davis was reentering the online dating scene. After matching with a "seemingly nice" man, the two exchanged phone s.
Then, one afternoon while Davis was at work, the man sent her an unrequested nude photo of himself. House Bill , ed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May, aims to put an end to experiences like Davis'. The law goes into effect Sept. The law won't apply just to texts, but also to what's sent over other platforms like , dating apps and social media. Morgan Meyer , R-Dallas, who authored the legislation, said as a father of three, he wanted to prevent a form of sexual harassment that ly went unchecked. The bill, he said, aims to close a gap in state law — indecent exposure is a crime in person, but not online.
Meyer said representatives from Bumble, the mobile dating app headquartered in Austin, initially brought the idea of crafting legislation to him. Women in particular are expected to laugh this sort of thing off," Herd testified. But with a "staggering volume" of people affected, Dallas employment law attorney Michelle MacLeod, whose firm represents clients in sexual harassment cases, said enforcement could be challenging with limited resources.
Morris, an Austin-based attorney whose firm specializes in First Amendment rights, said difficulties may also arise if an accused sender claims he or she wasn't the one who sent a lewd message. That situation played out in the Texas Senate last year when state Sen. Charles Schwertner was accused of texting sexually explicit messages to a University of Texas at Austin graduate student. Morris said even ing a doctor an image for medical purposes or posting a photo taken while breastfeeding could be considered criminal acts under the law, which he said is overly broad and vague.
That's why David Anderson, a former UT Austin law professor who focuses on free speech, expects legal challenges to the law. Four years ago, the Texas Legislature passed a similar law criminalizing revenge porn. The law was declared unconstitutional in April after a state appeals court said its broad restrictions infringed on free speech. It's awaiting a final decision in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and Anderson believes a similar constitutional challenge could mark the end for HB Who are they going to prosecute?
Still, Meyer said the law isn't aimed solely at punishing offenders. It's keeping people aware that sending unsolicited lewd photos will not be tolerated Disclosure: Bumble and the University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here. Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap.
At a time when newsroom resources and revenue across the country are declining, The Texas Tribune remains committed to sustaining our mission : creating a more engaged and informed Texas with every story we cover, every event we convene and every newsletter we send. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on members to help keep our stories free and our events open to the public.
Do you value our journalism? Show us with your support. New Texas Laws Hundreds of new state laws take effect Sept. More in this series. Quality journalism doesn't come free Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. Yes, I'll donate today.New deal TX sex dating
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