Texas House Bill 1344
In 2011 all 181 Texas legislators unanimously passed our House Bill 1344, making it illegal for parents, guardians and their spouses to show pornography to their children. Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill and it became law Sept. 1, 2011.
The bill was introduced by State Senator and Lillian Smith Board member Bob Deuell and by State Representative Cindy Burkett, who became a Lillian Smith Board Member in 2015.
In 2011 it was already illegal for an adult to show porn to a child, but a loophole was allowed because – back in 1974, when Texas’ current criminal code was passed – parents wanted the freedom to be able to use whatever resources they wanted to teach children about sex, according to one of the sponsors of the criminal code.
House Bill 1344 closed that loophole.
The problem was brought to our attention by Dallas mother Crystal Buckner, without whose efforts we would never have been able to get the law passed. After her ex-husband, Jack Buckner Jr, forced two of their three young daughters to view porn, she fought hard to get him arrested for his actions and called dozens of organizations for help. Unfortunately the Amarillo District Attorney’s Office was unable to have him arrested and prosecuted because what he did was not illegal prior to the law being enacted.
To explain the need for the law, Lillian Smith founder J.J. Smith arranged interviews for Crystal with The Dallas Morning News, CBS-11 TV News and the Associated Press. After those news stories appeared, the story then went national and was published and broadcast in and on hundreds of newspapers, news websites, radio and TV stations across the U.S.
Jack Buckner Jr. was eventually found guilty of Child Endangerment and jailed briefly for his actions.