H.B. No. 97
relating to prohibiting certain disruptions at a funeral service;
creating an offense.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 42, Penal Code, is amended by adding
Section 42.055 to read as follows:
Sec. 42.055. FUNERAL SERVICE DISRUPTIONS. (a) In this
(1) "Facility" means a building at which any portion
of a funeral service takes place, including a funeral parlor,
mortuary, private home, or established place of worship.
(2) "Funeral service" means a ceremony, procession, or
memorial service, including a wake or viewing, held in connection
with the burial or cremation of the dead.
(3) "Picketing" means:
(A) standing, sitting, or repeated walking,
riding, driving, or other similar action by a person displaying or
carrying a banner, placard, or sign;
(B) engaging in loud singing, chanting,
whistling, or yelling, with or without noise amplification through
a device such as a bullhorn or microphone; or
(C) blocking access to a facility or cemetery
being used for a funeral service.
(b) A person commits an offense if, during the period
beginning one hour before the service begins and ending one hour
after the service is completed, the person engages in picketing
within 500 feet of a facility or cemetery being used for a funeral
(c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
SECTION 2. Sections 42.04(a) and (c), Penal Code, are
amended to read as follows:
(a) If conduct that would otherwise violate Section
42.01(a)(5) (Unreasonable Noise), [
or] 42.03 (Obstructing
Passageway), or 42.055 (Funeral Service Disruptions) consists of
speech or other communication, of gathering with others to hear or
observe such speech or communication, or of gathering with others
to picket or otherwise express in a nonviolent manner a position on
social, economic, political, or religious questions, the actor must
be ordered to move, disperse, or otherwise remedy the violation
prior to his arrest if he has not yet intentionally harmed the
interests of others which those sections seek to protect.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Section
42.01(a)(5), [ or] 42.03, or 42.055:
(1) that in circumstances in which this section
requires an order no order was given;
(2) that an order, if given, was manifestly
unreasonable in scope; or
(3) that an order, if given, was promptly obeyed.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 97 was passed by the House on May 12,
2006, by the following vote: Yeas 144, Nays 0, 1 present, not
Chief Clerk of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 97 was passed by the Senate on May 12,
2006, by the following vote: Yeas 29, Nays 0.
Secretary of the Senate