From allowing dog-friendly outdoor seating to efforts made to address the backlog on testing rape kits, more than 800 news laws go into effect on Sunday that were passed through this year’s 86th Legislative Session.
Gov. Greg Abbott said because safety of students in Texas classrooms is a top priority, he made school safety an emergency item this session.
“State leaders took substantial steps to deliver on this priority,” he said. “I am grateful for the bi-partisan efforts of legislators that led to significant improvements in enhancing the safety of Texas schools, expanding students’ access to mental health resources and increasing support for teachers facing classroom challenges.”
• House Bill 19 creates mental health and substance use resources for certain school districts.
• HB 76 creates cardiac assessments of high school participants in extracurricular athletic activities sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League.
• HB 403 creates training requirements for a member of the board of trustees and the superintendent of an independent school district regarding sexual abuse, human trafficking and other maltreatment of children.
• HB 476 creates certain duties of public institutions of higher education and the Department of State Health Services regarding policies on the use of epinephrine auto-injectors by public institutions of higher education.
• HB 1143 relates the transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition by a handgun license holder in a school parking area.
“As we look to the possibilities that a new school year may bring, school administrators, parents, teachers and lawmakers must continue the conversation on school safety and continue to make the effort to keep our students safe in an affirming environment that strives for excellence and growth,” Abbott said.
New laws of interest
Many of the new laws focus on crime and punishment. About 50 new crimes were created.
• HB 8 relates to the criminal statute of limitations for certain sex offenses and the collection, analysis, and preservation of evidence of sexual assault and other sex offenses.
• HB 16 relates to the enforcement of the rights of a living unborn child after an abortion; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.
• HB 37 creates a criminal offense of mail theft.
• HB 98 creates civil and criminal liability for the unlawful disclosure of intimate visual material.
• HB 101 creates the criminal offense of false caller identification information display.
• HB 234 eliminates regulation of the sale of lemonade or other beverages by children.
• HB 446 creates criminal consequences of engaging in certain conduct with respect to certain instruments designed, made or adapted for use in striking a person.
• HB 504 creates employment protections for a person serving as a grand juror.
• HB 541 creates to the right to express breast milk or breast feed babies anywhere.
• HB 621 prohibits adverse employment action against an employee who in good faith reports child abuse or neglect.
• HB 881 gives rights to parents of a deceased person to view the person’s body before an autopsy is performed.
• HB 902 Increases the criminal penalty for assault of a pregnant woman.
• HB 1028 increases the criminal penalties for certain offenses committed in a disaster area or an evacuated area.
For a complete list, visit capitol.texas.gov/reports.