New laws on the books

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By ANDREW MURR

After a long, five-month legislative session in the spring, and an August, 30-day special session this summer, there are several new laws on the books that went into effect on September 1. Here is a brief run-down of a few of the new state laws which are currently in force:

NO TEXTING AND DRIVING Effective immediately, reading, writing or sending a text while driving a moving vehicle is against the law. There are exceptions for using a GPS device for directions, and hands-free devices are not impacted by this legislation, but those stopped for this violation for the first time can face fines up to $99. Repeat offenders will be on the hook for as much as $200. As we’ve seen right here in our district, distracted driving can be fatal, so play it safe and handle those text messages once you reach your destination.

LOWER FEES FOR HANDGUN LICENSES Until recently, Texas had one of the highest fees in the nation to obtain a handgun license. To bring Texas more in line with other states, we decreased the fee for a first-time license from $140 to $40, and the renewal cost will also drop from $70 to $40. Additionally, licensed peace officers and members of the military will have their fees waived entirely.

 

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