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 section: (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 service. (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 legislative session. ______________________________ ______________________________ 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 voting. ______________________________ 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 APPROVED: _____________________ Date _____________________ Governor