SAN ANTONIO – Many Texas laws are changing on Sept. 1 following 2019's legislative session.
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.
Click each bill to read 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.
SB 21 - Minimum age for tobacco sales
This one is pretty cut and dry -- you'll have to be at least 21 years old to purchase or consume or possess tobacco products. This includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products.
HB 2048 - Increased fines/fees for drivers
This repeals the Driver Responsibility Program, which will allow hundreds of thousands of Texans who've had their licenses suspended to reinstate them, and increases state fines for traffic and intoxicated drivers violations. State traffic fines will increase from $30 to $50 and intoxicated driver fines will increase as well:
- $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 8 - Sexual assault kit testing
This establishes timelines for processing and testing of sexual assault kits. Kits will be analyzed within 90 days of receiving the evidence. A felony prosecution where a rape kit was used will require the evidence to be preserved for at least 40 years or until the statute of limitations expires.
SB 1232 - Alcohol delivery
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will give permits to qualifying beer and wine retailers so that the retailers can make alcohol deliveries. "The bill would not authorize the holder of a brewpub license to deliver alcoholic beverages directly to ultimate consumers for off-premise consumption at a location other than the licensed premise," according to a bill analysis.
HB 1387 - School marshals
This increases the number of school marshals a campus can appoint. School's can "appoint to one marshal per 100 students in average daily attendance, or for a private school, one marshal per 100 students enrolled," according to a bill analysis.
SB 38 - Hazing
This redefines hazing to be more inclusive of certain actions. Namely, the consumption of alcohol. The law also gives immunity from civil and criminal liability to anyone who voluntarily reports a hazing incident in certain situations.
HB 446 - Brass knuckles
This makes it legal to carry brass knuckles, clubs and self-defense wild kat keychains, sometimes referred to as "kitty keychains." Read KSAT's coverage of this law here.
HB 1518 - Cough syrup
This prohibits the sale of dextromethorphan to customers under the age of 18. Dextromethorphan is commonly used in cough suppressants and can cause a "high" feeling if taken in large doses.
HB 253 - Postpartum depression
This law requires a five-year strategy be implemented for improving access to postpartum depression screenings, referrals, treatment and support services. Part of the strategy includes "raising public awareness of and reducing stigma related to postpartum depression," according to a bill analysis.
HB 547 - Hunting/fishing license
If you forget your paper license at home you no longer have to worry. You can show proof of licensure on your phone via the Parks and Wildlife Department website or a photo of the license. Texas requires anyone 17 years of age or older to have licenses and permits in order to go freshwater or saltwater fishing in public waters.
SB 1259 - Sexual assault
This expands the parameters of the definition of sexual assault. If a health service provider uses "human reproductive material from a donor knowing that the other person had not expressly consented to the use of material from that donor," it is considered sexual assault, according to the new law.
The above definitions are not all encompasing or representative of the entire text of the new state law. For full information on each individual law, click the corresponding hyperlink.