School Safety Law Toolkit

House Bill 1540

Effective Date: September 1, 2021

Defines coercion as “destroying, concealing, confiscating, or withholding” a victim of trafficking's government records or other identifying information or documents. It also includes causing a trafficking victim to become intoxicated or withholding alcohol or controlled substances.

Increased the punishment for online solicitation of a minor. If at trial it is shown that the person solicited a minor during regular public or private school hours and they knew or should have known that the minor was at school during the time of the offense, the punishment is increased to the next higher category of offense.

Increased the punishment for knowingly offering or agreeing to engage in fee-for-service sexual conduct (prostitution). If at trial it is shown that the person committed the offense within 1000 feet of a school or within 1000 feet where an official school function or event sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League (UIL) was taking place, the punishment is increased to the next higher category of offense.

Content below is the same as for SB 1831, which is posted here for review:

Requires public or private primary or secondary schools to post warning signs of increased penalties for human trafficking. Locations for signs include:

  • (1) parallel to and along the exterior boundaries of the school's premises.
  • (2) at each roadway or other way of access to the premises.
  • (3) for premises not fenced, at least every five hundred feet along the exterior boundaries of the premises.
  • (4) at each entrance to the premises.
  • (5) at conspicuous places reasonably likely to be viewed by all persons entering the premises.

TEA, along with the human trafficking prevention task force, must adopt rules “regarding the placement, installation, design, size, wording, and maintenance procedures for the warning signs required under this section.” Additional requirements for TEA rulemaking include that the signs must: (1) describe the provisions of Texas Penal Code 20A.02(b-1) and penalties for violation, (2) are written in Spanish and English, and (3) are at least 8 ½ x 11 inches in size.

TEA must provide, free of charge, the number of signs necessary for a school to comply with this mandate. If TEA is unable to do so, they may provide fewer signs or prioritize sign distribution based on criminal activity reports around the school.