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New Texas laws go into effect Sept. 1

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Posted at 7:23 AM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 08:27:12-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Sept. 1 is right around the corner, and that means there are a whole lot of new laws that will go into effect in Texas.

Some of the bills signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took effect immediately, others won't take effect until the New Year, and some start Sunday.

One of those new laws raised the minimum age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21. The law includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products. The only exception to the law is for those in the military.

Anyone caught breaking this new law, the bill states, will face a Class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500.

HB 446 lifts the state ban on carrying brass knuckles, kitty key chains, clubs and other self-defense items in public.

Texans who legally own firearms will be able to carry them in public after a state or natural disaster is declared.

When it comes to alcohol, Texans will be able to leave breweries with craft beer. They'll also be able to have beer and wine delivered to their home under this new law.

Pint-sized entrepreneurs are now protected under HB 234. The new law will allow youth to have lemonade stands in their yards. Children under the age of 18 will be able to sell non-alcoholic beverages on private property.

Texas is now the 19th state to raise the age limit to 18 to buy over-the-counter cough syrup. The concern is that some of these medicines have an ingredient in them used by teenagers to get high.

HB 2048 repeals the Driver Responsibility Program and will reinstate the licenses of a large number of drivers who have had their licenses suspended. State traffic, and intoxicated driver, fines are scheduled to increase.

People who steal packages from front porches, known as "porch pirates," could go to prison with a new law that makes it a felony to steal mail, including packages and postcards.

You know the calls -- it looks like a number you're familiar with, but when you answer, it is a telemarketer. The new law in Texas bans 'spoofing.'

When it comes to your hunting and fishing license, HB 547 will no longer require you to carry a paper copy. You can now show proof of your license on your phone via the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website or photo.

Below are some of the major laws that passed and what they mean for Texans. The descriptions are not all-inclusive, just summaries of some of the high points of that particular piece of legislation.

The Texas Legislature passed 10 pro-Second Amendment bills during the 2019 session.

▪ No permit or background checks are required for private gun sales, including gun shows.

▪ You don't need a permit to buy handguns in Texas.

▪ At 18 years old, you're allowed to buy a long arm, and at 21 years old you can by a handgun.

▪ If you buy a gun from a store, you must pass a background check.

▪ Texas allows for concealed carry and is considered a "shall issue" state. That means law enforcement can't stop you from getting a permit if you meet the requirements.

▪ Concealed carry permits are issued by the Department of Public Safety. To get one, applicants must take a 4-6 hour training course, pass a written exam and a shooting proficiency demo.

▪ If you're a convicted felon, have misdemeanor convictions, pending criminal charges, chemical or alcohol addiction, certain psychological diagnoses or restraining orders you won't be able to obtain that concealed carry license.

▪ In Texas, gun owners have no limit for handgun capacity and no mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases.

These are among the new laws that will take effect on Sept. 1:

▪ Texans who legally own firearms will be able to carry them in public after a state or natural disaster is declared. The law came after complaints Harvey victims weren't able to take their guns during mandatory evacuations.

▪ Licensed handgun holders can legally carry in places of worship unless given “effective oral or written notice” or warning that weapons were banned from the property. Places of worship will still be able to ban weapons.

▪ Landlords won't be able to ban renters from having guns in their apartments.
School districts can no longer ban the possession of firearms that are stored in locked vehicles.
▪ School districts can no longer ban the possession of firearms that are stored in locked vehicles.

Hazing SB 38 redefines hazing in many ways. The first major change will be civil and criminal immunity for "any person who voluntarily reports a specific hazing incident."

Sexual assault SB 1259 expands the definition of sexual assault. If a health care provider used "human reproductive material from a donor knowing that the other person had not expressly consented to the use of material from that donor," it's considered sexual assault.

Sexual assault kit testing Texas is improving the processing and testing of sexual assault kits by enacting HB 8. This will establish a time frame for the submission and analysis of newly collected kits.

Postpartum depression HB 253 requires a five-year strategic plan to improve access to postpartum depression screening, referral, treatment and support services.

Hunting/fishing license HB 547 allows people in Texas to show digital images of hunting and fishing licenses.

School marshals HB 1387 abolishes the cap on how many school marshals a campus can appoint.

HB 2048 repeals the Driver Responsibility Program and will reinstate the licenses of a large number of drivers that have had their licenses suspended. State traffic fines and intoxicated driver fines are planned to increase.

▪ $3,000 for the first conviction within 36 months;
▪ $4,500 for a subsequent conviction within 36 months; or
▪ $6,000 for a conviction if it was shown that the person’s alcohol concentration level was 0.16 or more

HB 234 - Lemonade stands

It seems strange that a child's lemonade stand would be shut down for breaking the law, but it's happened. That will soon be a thing of the past. Children under the age of 18 will be able to sell non-alcoholic beverages on private property without fear of prosecution.

HB 446 – Brass knuckles

This law lifts the state ban on carrying brass knuckles, kitty key chains, clubs and other self-defense items in public.

SB 1232 – Alcohol delivery

This law will allow patrons to leave breweries with craft beer. Beer and wine can be delivered to your home under this new law.

Minimum age for tobacco sales
SB 21 says that people in Texas will have to be at least 21 years old to purchase cigarettes. Supporters of the age increase say the law should reduce the risk of addiction.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1978, commonly referred to as the "Save Chick-Fil-A bill." The bill originally came up after the San Antonio City Council blocked Chick-Fil-A from opening a location in the airport due to reported donations to organizations that protest gay marriage and other LGBTQ issues.