2018 Ushers in 26 New Laws in Texas, After 600 in September

As of January 1, 2018, 26 laws took effect in Texas. These are only a few after 600 laws and regulations took effect on Sept. 1, 2017. Below is an overview of some of the new laws that went into effect this year:

  • S.B. 1381: Denial of debit/credit card use: Retailers can prevent customers from using a credit or debit card if they cannot provide a government-issued photo ID that matches the name on the card they are using (and their own identity.)
  • S.B. 5: Voters don’t have to use a photo ID if they can prove they have a “reasonable impediment” to getting one. Instead, they can use a bank statement or paycheck as a form of identification.
  • S.B. 1383: Milk prices will likely go up as a result of a new hauling permit that costs $1,200, and a cap on the amount of milk that can be hauled on a truck to 90,000 pounds.
  • S.B. 1767: Property owners now have an easier method for protesting and responding to appraisal increases.

In September two key laws that went into effect include banning drivers from texting while driving and permitting Texans to carry swords.

The texting law appears to be full of loopholes and difficult to enforce. The law prohibits drivers from messaging on their mobile phones using the Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Twitter apps. Texting during an emergency situation is exempt from the law, however, the law does not make clear what situation “constitutes an emergency.”

Rep. Gene Wu of Houston, who co-authored the bill, told Houston Ch. 2 News, “I think for 99 percent of the circumstances, the law is very clear. There’s always going to be an exception, there is always going to be a head scratcher.”

On June 15, 2017, Governor Abbott signed into law, H.B. 1935, the “Texas Knife Law Reform Bill,” which repeals the previous bans on daggers, including dirks, stilettos and poniards, swords, spears, and Bowie knives. These knives can be carried by anyone who is not a minor, and anywhere except for schools, colleges, correctional facilities, churches, and bars.

Bowie knives are famous, reaching 30 inches in length. The first was created in 1830 by James Black for Jim Bowie. Bowie became famous after he used a large knife at a duel, called “the Sandbar Fight.”

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