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New Texas Laws Take Effect Today

Posted By Tim Powers || 1-Sep-2011

About 700 new state laws take effect today in Texas.

Here’s a look at some of them:

– On election days, Texas voters will be required to show photo identification before casting ballots.

– Drivers will no longer have to slow down to 65 mph at night on most highways but can keep driving the daytime speed limit. The 65 mph night and truck speed limit signs are to be removed from roads by year’s end, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

– A new law requires school districts to recondition football helmets every two years once they have been used a decade. Helmets that are 16 and older must be sidelined permanently.

– Another law lets governments use eminent domain to seize private property only if it’s necessary for highways, schools or other public uses. The government then must make a "bona fide" offer to buy the property and pay landowners’ relocation expenses. A new law bans property seizure for private use, which was already prohibited by a 2009 constitutional amendment.

– Another new Texas law makes it a crime to impersonate someone online without obtaining his or her permission with the intent to harm, defraud, threaten or intimidate.

– New legislation cracks down on drunken driving. If a suspected inebriated motorist refuses to give a blood sample, a police officer will be allowed to apply for a warrant to take a sample to determine if the blood-alcohol level is higher than the Texas legal limit of .08.

Also, a driver whose blood-alcohol level is .15 or higher will automatically face a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. The previous charge was a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a six-month jail penalty.

– And now in Texas, the capital murder charge that carries a possible death sentence if someone is convicted of killing a child applies to victims age 10 or younger. Previously, a suspect was charged with capital murder in a child’s death if the victim was 6 or younger. Also, some repeat offenders convicted of certain sex offenses will be sentenced to life without parole.

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