"Under current law, Texas parents can already pull out the paddle as a means of disciplining their children. If they're charged with child abuse, they can beat the rap if they prove it was simple discipline. Mr. Dutton's legislation shifts the burden to prosecutors to prove that the spanking was more than that."
I also don't see anything in the new bill that explains how the section of the Family Code that it amends would interact with the Penal Code's existing defense. Nor do I see anything in the new bill that says anything about burdens or standards of proof.
This bill "clarifying" that a parent or guardian has the right to use corporal punishment against their child confuses me. Right now, the Penal Code has a defense to assault for parent discipline that allows "the use of force . . . against a child younger than 18 years . . . if the actor is the child's parent or stepparent or is acting in loco parentis to the child; and when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare." I'm not sure how this bill, which modifies the Family Code, would do anything that this section of the Penal Code doesn't already do. That said, prosecutors still prosecute ridiculous cases, and juries still convict under ridiculous circumstances. A colleague of mine defended a woman whose teenage son skipped school, took her car without permission, and was arrested for shoplifting. After she had to leave work to go to the police station, she told her son to take off his ballcap to show respect to the police officer. The son refused. The mom slapped the ballcap off his head. He wasn't injured or even hurt. The police officer, however, promptly arrested the mother for assault. The fresh-out-of-law-school ADAs refused to dismiss the case, and the brilliant jury convicted the woman of Class C ("offensive contact") assault.