New Texas laws go in effect on Sept. 1

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017
New Texas laws go in effect on Sept. 1
New Texas laws go in effect on Sept. 1

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On September 1, new laws go into effect in Texas, ranging from a texting-while-driving ban to the open-carry of swords.

Here are some of the laws we've tracked through the Texas Capitol.

Texting while driving ban

Texas becomes the 47th state in the U.S. to institute a ban on texting while driving. The first offense can draw a fine between $25 and $99. Exemptions apply for device used for mapping and stereo system control.

RELATED: Texas Senate approves law banning texting while driving

The Texas Senate has approved a ban on texting and driving.

Open-carrying swords and machetes

Blades more than 5.5 inches in length are being permitted for open-carry in public places. The law, though, prohibits swords and machetes in most bars, schools, colleges, sporting events, polling places, race parks, correctional facilities, hospitals, amusement parks and places of worship.

RELATED: Open carry law for knives and swords to begin in September

What you should know about open carry knives in Texas

Amnesty for sexual assault witnesses

Strengthening the fight against on-campus rapes, lawmakers passed a law granting amnesty to students who witness or report a sexual assault while also engaged in another illegal activity like public intoxication.

Changes for ride-share drivers

In an effort to compromise with ride-share services after they largely left major cities, drivers for companies like Lyft and Uber no longer require fingerprinting before work. However, drivers are subject to annual background checks.

RELATED: Texas Senate OKs state-level regulation of Uber, Lyft

State Senate passes legislation that would prevent cities from requiring fingerprint checks for Uber and Lyft drivers

Handgun license fees lowered

Concealed firearms owners in Texas will enjoy having the lowest license fees in the U.S. come September. Lawmakers passed an amendment that will change the license fee for new users from $140 to $40. Renewals drop from $70 to $40.

On August 1, campus carry became legal on public community college campuses.

RELATED: Campus carry for Texas community colleges goes into effect

Anonymity of lotto winners

There's an added safeguard for new millionaires. A new law is allowing lotto winners of at least $1 million the option to conceal their identities to media outlets.

Good Samaritans and civil liability

If you believe a person in a vehicle is in distress and you break a window to reach him or her, you can't be sued for the damage caused to the automobile. The state already exempts criminal charges for "good Samaritans" in these cases.


In an effort to curb the practice of lunch-shaming in schools, a new law allows a grace period for parents of students who do not provide a lunch payment. In the interim, applicable students will be given a cold sandwich instead of a hot meal.

Drones no-fly zones

Remote-controlled, unmanned aircraft are now banned over correctional and immigration detention centers.

RELATED: Flying a drone? Rules to know before you take off

Rules to know before flying a drone.

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