86th Texas Legislature Law Provisions

Because the Texas Legislature meets every two years for 140 calendar days, the 86th Legislature session voted and passed 820 house/senate bills that went into effect Sunday. Below are a few of them, but to learn more about all the laws, visit online at the ​Legislative Reference Library​.

 

●  Raised Smoking Age:​ After cases of lung disease and deaths caused by vaping, health officials are trying to prevent teenage tobacco use and limit health-care costs through the ​SB 21.​ Last Sunday, this law raised the age to buy tobacco products such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 in Texas. Any violation is punishable as a class C misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. The only exception to this law is those currently serving the military or if born on or before August 31, 2001.

●  Guns Stored in Vehicles: H​ B 1143​ prohibits Texas school districts or charter schools from banning licensed gun owners from storing guns and ammunition in their vehicles as long as it is not in plain sight.

●  Driver Responsibility Program:​ With the ​HB 2048,​ ​about 1 million Texans can get their driver’s licenses back because the bill ended the ​driver responsibility program​. This program was to encourage people to drive better but instead was difficult for people with traffic violations to pay their fines and keep their licenses resulting, for some, in a loss of their jobs and homes. To make up for lost revenue, state traffic fines, motor vehicle insurance fines and some traffic offenses will increase including intoxicated driving.

●  Sexting:​ If sending electronic images that present anyone in sexual conduct, with nudity or sexually explicit images, the recipient must have expressed consent or request. Otherwise, it is considered a crime and under the ​HB 2789,​ is a Class C misdemeanor, which has a maximum fine of $500.

●  Free Speech on Campus:​ Because of the first amendment of the Constitution and concerns that conservative voices are being silenced, ​SB 18​ requires public higher-education institutions to allow people to be involved with expressive conduct or speeches in common outdoor spaces.

●  Education:​ ​HB 3​ ​provides more money for Texas classrooms, increases teacher compensation and funding for low-income students, creates a new Dyslexia allotment, encourages teacher training in autism, reduces recapture and cuts local property taxes.

●  Suspended Students:​ ​HB 3012​ ​requires districts to provide suspended students access to all core coursework and provide at least one option without needing internet access.

●  School Information: S​B 994​ requires temporary custodians, former or current employees who have created or received public information, to surrender any information about school business, even if on a personal device, within ten days if requested by a public information officer.

●  Selling Beverages: ​HB 234​ allows children under the age of 18 to sell non-alcoholic drinks such as lemonade on private property.

●  Cough Syrup:​ ​HB 1518​ raised the age limit to 18 to buy dextromethorphan, a common cough syrup, to prevent teenagers from getting high.

●  Self Defense:​ ​HB 446​ allows Texans to carry brass knuckles, night sticks, maces, and self-defense plastic key chains (usually in the shape of animals) except in some areas, such as schools, nursing homes and jails.

 

Sources:

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article234392752.html https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/HB3_2-Pager.pdf https://lrl.texas.gov/sessions/effDates/billsEffective86.cfm#September19 https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB1143 https://hro.house.texas.gov/ https://legiscan.com/TX/text/SB18/id/2027681/Texas-2019-SB18-Enrolled.html