September 1, 2013 saw hundreds of laws added or modified in the State of Texas as final versions of House and Senate Bills from the 83rd Legislature took effect.
Many of them affect students and schools. A ban on call phone use in school zones has been expanded to include the entirety of school properties already protected by one or more school zones. Fines for passing a stopped school bus with its lights flashing are going up.
Two new laws are trying to stop hit-and-run accidents. Previously, the law was tougher on drivers who had been drinking.
Now a hit and run while sober is just as bad as when you're drunk--and you're legally required to get out and see if you hit an actual person which is an attempt at precluding the "I thought it was a deer" defense.
Most of us are used to slowing down and getting over for emergency responders. Now it's a requirement for TxDOT workers too.
Law enforcement agencies are facing fewer restrictions on how they get rid of guns they find or confiscate. Now, in some cases, they're able to sell them back on to the market.
The concealed handgun law gets tweaked so that the potential crime is no longer failing to hide the gun, but intentionally displaying it.
Families who have trouble paying their electric bill get some short term help. People who turn to the Light Up Texas program will get huge discounts next year. But a decision to de-fund the program means it will run dry by 2017.
Making a bomb threat on a college campus used to be a misdemeanor. Now it's a state jail felony.
Teens under 18 are now legally barred from getting in a tanning bed.
And more hospitals will be able to collect valuable evidence in the case of rapes and sexual assaults.