Sunday morning, Sept. 1, more than 800 new Texas laws took effect. I picked out a handful that should be of interest or at least amusing. Many of the laws rename highways or correct minor issues in existing laws.

One of the big laws is the new Texas two year budget amounting to $250 billion; yep you read that right, $250 Billion, that is $250,000,000,000 or 250,000 million. Boggles my mind looking at that many zeros. Many ask, “Republicans passed that”? Yes they did, be glad Democrats don’t control Texas politics, probably be a few more zeros in the equation.

The next important law in my opinion is directed at reigning in municipal and county government. HB 2840 amends the Texas Open Meetings Act to provide “a government body SHALL allow each member of the public who desires to address the elected body regarding an item on the agenda, an opportunity to speak before or during consideration of the item.”

• HB16 the Born Alive Act requires doctors to treat survivors of botched abortions as they would any other patient;

• SB21 increases the age from 18 to 21 to purchase tobacco products, exempting active military;

• SB22 prohibits state, county and cities from partnering with abortion providers or using tax dollars to fund abortion programs;

• HB2048 ends the Driver Responsibility Acts restrictive penalties and fines keeping low-income drivers trapped in the legal system;

• HB650 prohibits the shackling of female prisoners, requires trauma screening and a study on family and child visitation during incarceration;

• HB1992 attempts to ban telemarketers who manipulate caller ID or using fake caller ID’s;

• SB1264 fights against surprise medical bills, requiring medical facilities, doctors and insurance companies to work through state mediators to resolve bills;

• HB1177, called the Handgun Disaster Bill, allows people who are not licensed to carry the ability to transport their handguns during mandatory evacuation during a natural disaster;

• SB399 requires disclosure of properties being sold concerning being in a flood plain, near a reservoir or has been previously flooded in a catastrophic event;

• HB535 says church goers can carry firearms in church unless signage prohibiting firearms is clearly posted;

• HB1387 increases the number of armed marshals allowed in public or private schools;

• HB1143 allows for the proper storage of firearms in vehicles on school parking lots;

• HB302 says landlords can no longer prohibit renters from possessing firearms in or on rental property;

• SB741 says property owner associations can no longer restrict firearm storage in rental property;

• HB121 protects licensed to carry firearm individuals from prosecution if they leave private property when asked to leave;

• SB38 prohibits hazing on campus;

• HB2789 makes sexting illegal, prohibiting unsolicited nude pictures;

• HB1518 bans the sale of cough syrup to minors;

• HB2174 places some restrictions on opioid pain medications after surgery;

• HB1791 closes loopholes that allow cities and counties to restrict from government buildings people who are licensed to carry firearms;

• HB2363 allows foster parents to store fire arms in a safe manor while retaining quick and easy access;

• HB3231 restricts the zoning authority that could be used by cities and counties to prevent the sale or transfer of firearms.

• SB772 removes from liability or frivolous lawsuits businesses that allow licensed to carry individuals on the property.

And finally some common sense changes:

• “Lemonade Stand Bill” prevents government agencies from blocking or restricting the sales of non alcoholic drinks by children on private property;

• “Right to pump breast milk” law makes pumping legal where feeding is legal;

• “Porch Package” Bill provided for criminal and civil penalties for stealing packages from porches, severity based on number of occurrences;

• “Brass Knuckle” Bill makes the possession of brass knuckles legal;

• “College Credit” Bill requires colleges to report which subject credits are not transferable saving the student time and money;

• “Craft Beer” Bill allows craft beer manufactures to sell to-go products;

• “Rape Kit Storage” Bill places requirements on when and how rape kits are used and the amount of time these must be stored as evidence;

And the last one that I like allows for taking a photo of ones hunting or fishing license and the photo is legal proof of having a license.

Hope this provides some amusement and conversation to go with the morning coffee until next week.

 Terry Harper is a longtime Guadalupe County resident and lifelong conservative.

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