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Lemonade stands, brass knuckles, smoking age among subjects affected by new laws beginning September 1

Last updated on August 29, 2019

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September 1 will be here before we know it and that means there are a host new laws that will go into effect in Texas. From guns to lemonade stands and brass knuckles to cough syrup, these are just some the laws you should be aware of

Texas gun laws got revamped

These are among the new gun laws that will take effect on Sept. 1:

  • Texans who legally own firearms will be able to carry them in public after a state or natural disaster is declared. The law comes after Harvey victims complained they weren’t able to take their guns during evacuations.
  • Licensed handgun holders can also legally carry in places of worship unless given “effective oral or written notice” or warning that weapons were banned from the property. Places of worship will still be able to ban weapons.
  • Landlords won’t be able to ban renters from having guns in their apartments or homes.
  • School districts can no longer ban the possession of firearms that are stored in locked vehicles.  

Lemonade is legal

Pint-sized entrepreneurs in Texas have the law on their side the next time they go to set up a lemonade stand. House Bill 234 would block cities and counties in the Lone Star State from enforcing or adopting ordinances that stop children from selling lemonade, or other non-alcoholic beverages, while on private property or in public parks.

Brass knuckles and other self defense items will be legal to carry

Governor Greg Abbott’s signature gave House Bill 446 its final okay. The bill, authored by Rep. Joe Moody, of El Paso, lifts the state ban on carrying brass knuckles, kitty key chains, clubs and other self-defense items in public starting September 1, 2019.

Smoking age raised to 21

Starting Sept. 1 anyone under 21 won’t be able to walk into the store and buy cigarettes or any other tobacco product. Those that are already 18, the current legal age, as of August 31, will still be able to purchase tobacco products.

Beer to go and booze delivery got the go-ahead

There will be a couple news relating to alcohol starting Sept. 1.  Texans will be able to leave breweries with craft beer. They’ll also be able to have beer and wine be delivered.

Under the current law, patrons can take home a bottle of wine from a winery or spirits from a distillery, but not beer from a brewery. Under the new law, those with beer and wine retailer’s licenses, including many restaurants, cafes and coffee shops, will be able to apply for permits to deliver wine and beer themselves or contract through a digital delivery service like Instacart.

Cities prohibited from banning dogs from restaurant patios

A bill that prohibits cities from putting restrictions on restaurants that want to let customers bring their four-legged friends on patios in Texas signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.

Senate Bill 476 was signed into law by Gov. Abbott on June 4 and will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2019.

A restaurant still has full discretion on whether it wants to allow dogs or not and dogs are still not allowed to go inside the restaurant.

DWI fines increase, suspended licenses to be reinstated

This repeals the Driver Responsibility Program, which will allow hundreds of thousands of Texans who’ve had their licenses suspended to reinstate them. In turn, increases state fines for traffic and intoxicated drivers violations will become a reality. State traffic fines will increase from $30 to $50 and intoxicated driver fines will increase as well. As far as other intoxicated driver violations, fees will be as follows:

  • $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

Rape kits put on a timeline

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.

Age limit put on cough syrup sales

HB 1518 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.

Definition of sexual assault expanded

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.

Access to postpartum depression services improved

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.

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