650 Texas laws change
By LPR Staff
More than 650 new laws took effect over the weekend, many of which could change the way some residents of Caldwell County live their lives. Examples of changes to Texas laws include increased penalties for certain criminal activities including vehicle manslaughter and sexual assault of a child, heightened restrictions on drivi
ng privileges for some segments of the population and changes to the laws governing safety at home.
The most significant change is removal of “retreat” provisions in Texas” “castle doctrine.”
Prior to Sept. 1, residents must have showed signs of trying to retreat before shooting intruders in their homes or on their property. With the 80th legislative session, homeowners now have the right to shoot those that would intend them harm in their homes without having to retreat first.
Fast drivers will face slightly harsher restrictions if ticketed while driving faster than 95 miles per hour. Under the old statutes, speeding tickets at such high rates of speed could be dismissed with the successful completion of a driver safety (defensive driving) course. However, under the new law that took effect on Saturday, tickets issued for driving higher than 95 miles per hour can no longer be dismissed.
HB 84, also known as “Katie”s Law” requires restrictions on the renewal of drivers” licenses for those over the age of 79. After the age of 79 years, drivers will no longer be allowed to renew their license via mail or computer. Further, after a driver reaches 85 year of age, his or her license to drive will expire every two years, rather than every six.
The law was presented after a young Dallas woman was killed when a 90-year-old driver ran a red light and collided with her car. Witnesses said the man was driving seven miles per hour over the speed limit, and that the light had been red for more than 30 seconds before he crossed into the intersection.
Pet owners have a number of new laws to be concerned about.
First and foremost, the penalties for dogs who attack or injure people has changed. Now, a vicious or violent dog can earn its owner not only heavy fines, but up to 20 years in jail if the dog attacks and causes serious injury or death.
Further, a new law limits the amount of time and the times of day which dogs may be tethered outdoors. Dogs may not be kept on chains or ties outdoors between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or during any serious weather event, such as freezing weather, extreme heat or wind events. Additionally, the new law spells out the types of collars and leads which may be used as dog tethers during acceptable times. For example, a line tie must be 10 times longer than the dog”s body length, and a dog may not be tethered with a choke or pinch-type collar.
For a full report of the 654 laws changed as of Sept. 1, visit www.capitol.state.tx.us.