House Bill 1774 – Windstorm Insurance Lawsuit Restrictions

This bill essentially reduces the ability of claimants to sue insurers. Furthermore, it also cuts penalty fees for late payments that have been levied against companies. Many people claim it has less to do with frivolous lawsuits, even though the initial claim it that it does. There are those who have fallen victim to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey who have since spoken out against this bill.

House Bill 62 – Texting While Driving Ban

No driver may use an electronic device to read or send text messages while their vehicle is in motion.

Senate Bill 4 – Proof of Citizenship

Major portions of this bill have since been blocked by a district judge, meaning it will not go into effect as planned. Initially, police officers would have been allowed to ask anyone for proof of their citizenship for anyone that they detain, even during a normal traffic stop. Furthermore, local law enforcement would have been forced to comply with federal immigration officials and their requests.

Senate Bill 8 – Burying Fetal Remains and Banning D&E Abortion

This bill has since been temporarily blocked from taking effect. Initially, it would have forced both abortion providers and patients to either bury or cremate embryonic and fetal remains, as well as ban D&E, which is considered by many medical professionals to be the most common and safest type of second-trimester abortion, with no exceptions provided for either incest or rape. The law would also have prohibited donating aborted fetal tissue to medical research.

House Bill 478 – Protecting Good Samaritans

This bill offers civil liability protections for individuals who break into a car to save either a child or disabled individual.

Senate Bill 1566 – Preventing Lunch Shaming

This bill allows parents to have extra time to come up with money to pay for their child’s school lunches if they run out of funds so that their child never has to go hungry.

Senate Bill 968 – Easier Reporting of Campus Sexual Assault

Schools and colleges are now required to provide anonymous electronic reporting for those who have become victims of sexual assault.

Senate Bill 179 – Anti-Cyberbullying

Those found to be engaging in this activity against anyone under the age of 18 will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. Schools will also be required to intervene and report cases of cyberbullying, and parents will also be allowed to temporarily stop bullying social media accounts.

House Bill 59 – Anonymous Lottery Winners

Those who win at least $1 million playing the lottery can prevent their personal information from being released to the media and the public.

Senate Bill 16 – Cheaper Handgun License Fees

The fees to own a handgun drop to $40 from $140, while the annual renewal fees drop to $40 from $70.

House Bill 1935 – Open Carry of More Knives

Citizens may now openly carry knives and other blades longer than 5.5 inches. This may not be done in bars, hospitals, prisons, schools, amusement parks, and various places of worship.

House Bill 2908 – Attacks on Peace Officers Now a Hate Crime

Those found guilty of this face a second-degree felony and/or a prison sentence of up to 20 years. If the crime results in serious bodily injury, it will be a first-degree felony, as well as a possible sentence of up to 99 years or life in prison.

Senate Bill 1849 – Unlawful Stop and Search

This bill is designed to stop groundless traffic stops and focuses more on mental health care access. It has since been spoken out against by the family of Sandra Bland, who passed away in a Texas jail after being arrested.

House Bills 1424 & 1643 – Limiting Drone Fly Zones

This bill prohibits drones being flown over jails, oil/gas drills, sporting facilities, and feedlots.

House Bill 280 – Protecting Medical Staff from Attacks

This bill offers a grant program to help fund both avoidance and risk reduction in terms of medical staff being attacked by patients.

House Bill 3859 – Child Welfare Providers’ Religious Liberties

Essentially gives a welfare provider the right to discriminate against potential foster parents on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. Additionally, the welfare provider may also deny aid to a youth in their care if it violates the provider’s religious beliefs.

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