2021 Bills That Are Still Moving Or Have Become Law

May 31, 2021
2021 Bills That Are Still Moving Or Have Become Law


Last updated: June 18, 2021

After a divisive legislative session in Texas, lawmakers are headed home. But our work doesn’t end here. Over the next 20 days, the Governor will review the bills that have reached his desk and sign them into law, let them pass into law without a signature, or veto them. 

This session has been difficult and emotionally demanding—for our partners, for our team, and for the thousands of Texans who raised their voices for meaningful reform. Alongside countless community members, we have demanded safety and wellbeing for our families and neighbors. We have called for accountable leadership, racial equity, and opportunities for redemption. Ultimately, many bills that advanced to the Governor’s desk fell short of these mandates.

Yet still, in an incredibly challenging climate, we are proud of the hard-fought wins that have provided real bright spots for impacted Texans, while acknowledging that much more must be done to fulfill our collective priorities. Below is a list of more than 40 justice-related bills that are awaiting the Governor’s signature or have already become law. Bookmark this page to stay updated over the next 20 days and beyond.

And keep an eye out for our full recap of new legislation from this session, with bill analyses for everything that does become law.

NOTE: The bills with asterisks below were priority bills on TCJC’s legislative agenda.


YOUTH JUSTICE BILLS

Second Look

  • * HB 686 [Moody, Buckley, Neave, White, Ramos | Sponsor: Lucio]
    Relating to the release on parole of certain youthful offenders; changing parole eligibility.

Education-Related Reforms

  • HB 785 [Allen, Reynolds, Jarvis Johnson | Sponsor: Zaffirini]
    Relating to behavior improvement plans and behavioral intervention plans for certain public school students and notification and documentation requirements regarding certain behavior management techniques.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 6/4/2021
  • HB 1525 [Huberty, VanDeaver, Ken King, Dutton, Mary González | Sponsor: Taylor]
    Relating to the public school finance system and public education.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

    Note: Education Code Sections 28.004 and 31.0211(c) take effect on 6/16/2021, while Section 32.155 takes effect on 9/1/2023.
  • HB 2287 [Senfronia Thompson, Hunter, Dutton, Allen, Coleman | Sponsor: Powell]
    Relating to data collection and receipt of certain reports by and consultation with the Collaborative Task Force on Public School Mental Health Services.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 3165 [Meyer | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to an affirmative defense to an allegation of truant conduct.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 6/4/2021
  • SB 179 [Lucio | Sponsors: Huberty, Mary González]
    Relating to the use of public school counselors’ work time.
  • SB 462 [Lucio | Sponsor: Allen]
    Relating to funding under the transportation allotment for transporting meals and instructional materials to students during a declared disaster.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 6/14/2021

Supports for Young People in Foster Care or Experiencing Homelessness

  • HB 80 [Jarvis Johnson, Collier, Meza | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to the discharge by certain defendants of fines and costs through community service.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • ​​​SB 2054 [Menéndez | Sponsors: White, Guillen, Jarvis Johnson, Noble]
    Relating to the waiver of fees and costs associated with driver education and safety courses and driver’s license examinations for foster children or youth, former foster children or youth, and youth experiencing homelessness.

Reforms Related to Court Proceedings and Juvenile Records

  • HB 454 [Metcalf | Sponsor: Creighton]
    Relating to the creation of a specialty treatment court for certain individuals residing with a child who is the subject of a juvenile court case.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 1193 [Wu, Rose, White, Leach, Moody | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to the jurisdiction of a juvenile court over certain persons and to the sealing and nondisclosure of certain juvenile records.
  • HB 1401 [Ann Johnson, White, Wu, Guillen | Sponsor: Huffman]
    Relating to methods to send applications and orders for sealing juvenile records.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 2107 [Wu | Sponsor: Menéndez]
    Relating to services for children who are unfit or lack responsibility to proceed in juvenile court proceedings as a result of intellectual disabilities.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

Reforms Related to Kids in Confinement

  • HB 30 [Talarico, Murr, White, Wu, Minjarez | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to educational programs provided by the Windham School District in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for certain inmates.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 1664 [White, Guillen | Sponsor: Eckhardt]
    Relating to the reinstatement of eligibility for medical assistance of certain children placed in juvenile facilities.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 4544 [Swanson | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to providing children committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with certain documents on discharge or release; authorizing a fee.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

INDIGENT DEFENSE AND COURT-RELATED BILLS

Expansion of Indigent Defense Funding

  • HB 295 [Murr, Collier, Smith, Moody, Ann Johnson | Sponsor: Zaffirini]
    Relating to the provision of funding for indigent defense services.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

Reforms Related to Court Procedures

  • HB 4293 [Hinojosa, Krause, Moody, Leach, Jessica González | Sponsor: Zaffirini]
    Relating to the creation of a court reminder program for criminal defendants.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • SB 49 [Zaffirini | Sponsor: Murr]
    Relating to procedures regarding defendants who are or may be persons with a mental illness or intellectual disability.
  • SB 281 [Hinojosa | Sponsor: Lucio III]
    Relating to the use of hypnotically induced statements in a criminal trial.

BILLS RELATED TO DECARCERATION, SENTENCING REFORM & COMMUNITY-BASED SUPPORTS

Probation Reforms

  • HB 385 [Pacheco, White, Campos, Button, Krause | Sponsor: Hughes]
    Relating to conditions of community supervision and procedures applicable to the reduction or termination of a defendant’s period of community supervision.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 787 [Allen; Murr; Rodriguez; White; Sherman, Sr. | Sponsor: Miles]
    Relating to conditions of community supervision prohibiting contact with certain persons.

Cite-and-Release

  • SB 237 [Bettencourt, Johnson | Sponsors: Gervin-Hawkins, Ellzey]
    Relating to the issuance of a citation for a criminal trespass offense punishable as a Class B misdemeanor.

Supports for Community-Based Treatment

  • HB 788 [Geren | Sponsor: Zaffirini]
    Relating to the eligibility of emergency service dispatchers to participate in a public safety employees treatment court program.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 2595 [Price, Smith, Allison, Meza, Rose | Sponsor: Nelson]
    Relating to a parity complaint portal and educational materials and parity law training regarding benefits for mental health conditions and substance use disorders to be made available through the portal and otherwise; designating October as mental health condition and substance use disorder parity awareness month.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • SB 454 [Kolkhorst | Sponsors: Lambert, Guillen]
    Relating to mental health services development plans as updated by the Health and Human Services Commission and local mental health authority groups.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 6/4/2021
  • SB 1921 [Lucio | Sponsor: Guillen]
    Relating to Medicaid reimbursement for the provision of certain behavioral health and physical health services.

Drug- and Recovery-Related Reforms

  • HB 707 [Moody, Murr | Sponsor: Blanco]
    Relating to a study on expanding recovery housing in this state.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 1694 [Raney, Guillen, Leach, Guerra, Jarvis Johnson | Sponsor: Schwertner]
    Relating to a defense to prosecution for certain offenses involving possession of small amounts of controlled substances, marihuana, dangerous drugs, or abusable volatile chemicals, or possession of drug paraphernalia for defendants seeking assistance for a suspected overdose.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • SB 181 [Johnson | Sponsor: White]
    Relating to suspension of a driver’s license for persons convicted of certain offenses and the educational program required for reinstatement of a license following certain convictions; authorizing a fine.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • SCR 1 [Johnson | Sponsor: White]
    Expressing opposition to the enactment or enforcement in Texas of a law, under a federal mandate, that automatically suspends the driver’s license of an individual who is convicted of certain offenses.
    Signed by the Governor, 5/28/2021

WOMEN’S JUSTICE BILLS

Family Reunification Reform

  • * HB 2926 [Parker, Krause, Minjarez, Talarico | Sponsor: Buckingham]
    Relating to the reinstatement of the parent-child relationship with respect to a person whose parental rights have been involuntarily terminated and to certain requirements in relation to the termination of the parent-child relationship or placement of a child in substitute care.​
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

Reform Related to Pregnancy While Incarcerated

  • HB 1307 [Mary González, Allen, Guillen | Sponsor: Menéndez]
    Relating to the care of pregnant women in county jail or in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

BILLS RELATED TO CONFINEMENT IN STATE OR LOCAL CORRECTIONS FACILITIES

State Prison Reforms

  • HB 3606 [Leach, Rodriguez, Guillen | Sponsor: Bettencourt]
    Relating to the provision of vocational training to inmates confined in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice transfer facility.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 4279 [Dominguez | Sponsor: Hinojosa]
    Relating to the eligibility of the Windham School District to participate in the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

County Jail Reform

  • HB 2831 [White, Spiller | Sponsor: Miles]
    Relating to the confinement in county jail of persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

REENTRY BILLS

Reforms that Reduce Reentry Barriers

  • HB 757 [Dutton | Sponsor: Miles]
    Relating to the consequences of receiving a grant of deferred adjudication community supervision and successfully completing the period of supervision.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • HB 2352 [Parker, White, Jarvis Johnson, Moody, Guillen | Sponsor: Huffman]
    Relating to an educational and vocational training pilot program for certain state jail felony defendants and certain inmates released on parole; changing parole eligibility.

POLICING BILLS

Javier Ambler's Law

  • HB 54 [Talarico, White, Israel, Bucy, Patterson | Sponsor: Whitmire]
    Relating to accompanying and filming peace officers of state and local law enforcement agencies for producing reality television programs.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 5/26/2021

The Botham Jean Act

  • HB 929 [Sherman, Sr.; Krause; Jetton; Rodriguez; Reynolds | Sponsor: West]
    Relating to law enforcement policies and procedures regarding body worn cameras.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021

BILLS RELATED TO OTHER JUSTICE ISSUES

Reforms that Address Court Fines and Fees

  • HB 569 [Sanford, Rose, Thierry, White, Crockett | Sponsor: West]
    Relating to credit toward payment of a fine and costs for certain misdemeanants confined in jail or prison before sentencing.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
  • SB 1373 [Zaffirini | Sponsors: White, Jarvis Johnson]
    Relating to the imposition and collection of fines, fees, and court costs in criminal cases.
    Signed by the Governor; effective on 9/1/2021
About the Author: 

Leah Pinney

Executive Director

Leah has been part of the TCJC team since 2007, and she has carried out her passion for justice reform through her work in various project areas by advancing the mission of TCJC.  As TCJC’s Executive Director, Leah currently spearheads organizational planning and coordination of local and statewide strategies, while ensuring that reforms are driven by those most impacted. You can learn more about Leah here.