Sunday marks the effective date for more than 800 new laws passed during the most recent session of the Texas Legislature.

Some highlights include:

Smoking age: A new law prohibits anyone younger than 21 from buying cigarettes and tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, unless they are members of the military on active duty.

Cough syrup: Children under 18 can no longer buy cough syrups with the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, or DXM.

Sexting: It is now a Class C misdemeanor to text, or otherwise send electronically, unsolicited sexually explicit images to someone without their permission. It can carry a maximum fine of $500.

Spoofing: Telemarketers can no longer manipulate Caller ID to change numbers to match the area code of the number they are calling.

Porch pirates: Anyone who steals packages will face a new series of charges. The penalty ranges and charges increase depending on the number of items stolen. Someone who steals from more than 50 people faces a first-degree felony.

Junior entrepreneurs: Lemonade stands run by kids, which have been illegal in Texas for years, are legal now.

Packing in the pews: Church leaders in Texas now may decide whether to allow handguns on their premises. Texas law has included houses of worship among places gun owners cannot carry their weapons.

More packing: Add brass knuckles, tomahawks, night sticks and other devices to the list of weapons people legally can carry. Until now, those items were on the state’s list of prohibited weapons.

Gropers beware: A new law called indecent assault adds more serious penalties for groping the genitals, breasts or anus of an adult. It is now a Class A misdemeanor, up from Class C, the same level as a speeding ticket.

Lauren’s Law: This new law makes it capital murder if someone kills a child ranging in age from 10 to 14. The defendant is not subject to the death penalty but faces life without parole. The law remains that killing a child younger than 10 can subject a defendant to the death penalty.

Drunken driving: Defendants charged for the first time with DWI can now seek deferred adjudication probation. It was not an option before.

Get Trib headlines sent directly to you, every day.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

Load comments