Though most of the new laws in Texas began on September 1st, there are a few more that will begin on January 1, 2012.
There will be a change to the laws concerning protective orders, which use to be limited to two years but can now be issued for up to a lifetime. Also, pets and other companion animals can now be included in the protective order. Though it may sound silly, the law will protect victims from having the restrained person take or harm their pets or even threaten to harm a pet. Protective orders will also now be available to dating partners who had not been “intimate” together, as in a new boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
Stalking victims will finally have access to protective orders in Texas. In the past, the victim had to prove they had been subjected to domestic violence or sexual assault in order to gain the protective order. Now all that is needed is that a court finds “reasonable grounds” that the person seeking the protective order is the actual victim of stalking.
The next important law change to take place is that Texas voters must show a qualified photo ID to vote, as well as their voter registration card. The voter must display their Texas driver’s license, a U.S. military ID card, a Texas concealed handgun license, a Texas election ID or a U.S. passport or U.S. citizenship certificate in order to vote. If they do not have a valid photo ID they will be allowed to cast a provisional vote and will be required to bring back an ID in order for their vote to be counted. Though some have argued that the law is discriminatory and unnecessary, others find it to be a law of common sense. Ultimately the courts may decide whether the law is constitutional or not.
The other law that may interest Texas homeowners concerns Homeowner Associations. These HOA’s are all over Texas and are often the source of controversy for their sometimes militant type behavior and fines. The new law says that an HOA cannot simply initiate foreclosure on a homeowner who has not paid their HOA dues. They must establish a payment plan and work with the homeowner to solve the issue. Also falling on the side of homeowners rights, the owners will now be able to display religious items on their doors or door frames.
If you would like email notification when new Kaufman County Crime Examiner articles are published, add your email address to the “Subscribe” button at the top of this page. You may also be interested in checking out the Kaufman County Community Examiner page by clicking here.