There are 673 new laws are in place in Texas, as of Friday, one of them, a statewide texting and driving ban.
“The statewide ban is in addition to all of the different bans the cities have already enacted. Some of those are stricter,” said Chris Bishop, TXDOT spokesperson.
There is a hands free ordinance in place in the city of Austin, so that means no phone usage, period. Outlying cities like Pflugerville didn't have a texting ban. Now under state law, they do.
“Anything that distracts you from the road needs to be banned,” said Tephanie Manor, Pflugerville driver.
Tephanie Manor has seen what texting and driving can do firsthand.
“A young guy was texting and he hit another vehicle. He kept going. He obviously didn't realize he hit the other vehicle,” said Manor.
Other bills are: HB 1935 which will allow people to carry a blade longer than five and a half inches. Another is HB 478 which provides protection to a person breaking into a car to save a vulnerable person from dying in a hot car, like a child. Another bill, is David's Law, which addresses cyberbullying.
“Our laws, as I was told by a police officer, were out of date and out of step with technology,” said Sen. Jose Menendez, (D)- San Antonio.
David Molak, a San Antonio-area teen took his own life after being cyberbullied for months. His family partnered with senator Jose Menendez to put together a bill.
“I felt we could do a bill that could help empower parents, it would also free schools up to work with law enforcement, and eliminate the excuses,” said Menendez.
It gives schools more power, allowing them to report cyberbullying off campus. Something that wasn't happening before
“Some schools would say, ‘it's happening off campus therefore it's not our problem, there's nothing we can do about it,’” said Menendez.
Two high profile bills, SB 4 which would allow law enforcement to ask immigration status in certain circumstances, was placed on hold temporarily by a federal judge.
The other major bill temporarily blocked was SB 8, a bill which would ban an often used method of abortion.
Another legislative session is in the books. Will Texans abide by the new laws, and will they be enforceable? We can only wait and see.