"These are the more complicated laws," says State Representative Garnet Coleman, a Democrat from Houston. "We're talking about legislation that we pass and then give to the regulatory agencies. They have to figure out the best way to implement the laws and that can take time."
That's certainly the case with House Bill 5, the sweeping legislation changing the course load requirements for graduating high school seniors. Now, there are multiple tracks a student can choose his or her freshman year. The non-binding track guides a student through classes which offer preparation for college or a job in the workforce.
Also effective today is a new law which makes it easier to go through the inspection/registration process for businesses with fleets of vehicles running on natural gas. The streamlined process is intended to encourage businesses to purchase and run the cleaner burning cars and buses.
Juveniles charged with crimes are now getting a fairer shake in the state's legal system. A law effective today provides indigent juveniles with appointed counsel immediately after arrest. Previously, juveniles who couldn't afford attorneys would get much farther into the legal process before being appointed an attorney.
The state's new abortion law, House Bill 2, will not go into effect as intended today. A federal judge ruled against key parts of that law which would have shuttered abortion clinics not meeting certain enhanced medical standards. The state is appealing that ruling.
**For more information on the new laws that take effect September 1, 2014, we've got them posted here.