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Mail theft is now a state crime, mirroring a federal statute to give local prosecutors a chance to pursue charges ranging from a misdemeanor if mail is taken from fewer than 10 addresses to a felony if more than 30 addresses are involved — with even harsher penalties for identity theft or if elderly Texans or people with disabilities are targeted.In an attempt to counter the growing problem of theft by “porch pirates,” HB 37 also expands the definition of mail to include packages dropped off by a delivery service or left out for pickup.With more than 800 new state laws taking effect at the start of September, the legal age for tobacco and vaping products rises from 18 to 21, gun rights continue to expand, children’s lemonade stands get support and hundreds of thousands of Texans will get their driver’s licenses back.The Texas Legislature also created dozens of new crimes and added harsher penalties to old ones, acted to reduce a shameful backlog of untested rape evidence and made it legal to carry brass knuckles and key chains designed to enhance the power of a punch.“Then we found out this was not a crime,” she said, her voice breaking.The fertility fraud bill passed unanimously in both chambers.Wiley said health problems with her 4-year-old son led to DNA testing and, eventually, the shocking discovery that her mother’s fertility doctor was also her biological father.

“I hope it makes things better for other families in the future,” he said.I think you will see that have an impact,” Edmonds said.Efforts to address the growing problem of human trafficking included HB 2758, barring courts from offering probation for aggravated promotion of prostitution and continuous trafficking of persons.In addition, HB 2945 requires merchants who discover a skimmer to immediately disable the gas pump, notify law enforcement and cooperate with investigators.• Two laws target telemarketer fraud, with HB 1992 making it illegal to spoof caller ID by using misleading information and HB 101 creating a new crime — false caller identification information — for misrepresenting a caller’s name or phone number with the intent to “defraud or cause harm.” • Sexting without the recipient’s consent is now a Class C misdemeanor under HB 2789, providing a maximum fine of 0 for the offense of unlawful electronic transmission of sexually explicit visual material.

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