Houston Matters

From A Texting Ban To Insurance Claims — More Than 670 New Laws Took Effect Today

More than 670 new state laws have taken effect across Texas as of Sept. 1. We learn about them and how they might effect Houston.

Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Texas State Capitol in Austin.

While you were sleeping, a number of non-flood-related things happened in Houston overnight. The Houston Astros pulled off a last-minute trade before the waiver-eligible deadline ended, acquiring former Cy Young award-winner Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for three highly touted minor league prospects.

Also overnight, more than 670 new state laws have taken effect across Texas. Victims of Harvey will certainly be interested in one law in particular, House Bill 1774.

To tell us more, and to help us try and understand how the new laws might affect Houston, we talk with Dr. David Branham, professor of political science at the University of Houston-Downtown. 

NEW LAWS THAT MIGHT AFFECT HOUSTON:

(from the Texas Tribune)

HB 1774: Relates to handling of legal actions for certain insurance claims.

SB 8: Relates to the burial of fetal remains.

HB 62: A statewide ban on texting while driving.

SB 693: New school buses must have shoulder-to-lap seat belts for all riders.

HB 1729: When Texans get or renew their driver’s licenses, they will have the option to donate $1 or more to fund the testing of thousands of backlogged rape kits.

SB 16: Fees to obtain handgun licenses have dropped from $140 to $40.

HB 3921: Financial institutions now have more power to stop transactions they suspect are aimed at defrauding elderly or disabled clients.

HB 1935: It is now legal for Texans to carry more kinds of knives in public. 

SB 179: With the help of a measure dubbed David’s Law, school officials hope they will have more tools at their disposal to fight cyberbullying.

SB 725: Under a newly created loophole in state law, school employees can give leftover food to hungry students.

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