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Texas Matters: New Laws For Women's Health And Guns

Ryan Poppe

On Sept. 1, more than 800 new laws that passed in the last legislative session go into effect. Other laws signed by Gov. Greg Abbott went into effect immediately and some laws were written to start with the new year.  But most are kicking off at the start of September.

While many of these new laws are highly specific and impact targeted industries, there are some laws that are going to be game changers and be felt by many in Texas.

For example, hopefully there will be fewer stolen packages when left on porches in Texas. The so called "porch pirate law" raises the penalty for nicking mail, packages and postcards. It will now be a felony and those caught and convicted could see prison time.

Texas is now the 19th state to raise the age limit to 18 to buy over the counter cough syrup.  According to Stop Medicine Abuse,  one in 30 teens has abused over the counter cough syrup to get high.

And also starting Sept. 1 the age to buy and use tobacco products is raised from 18 to 21. There is an exception for those in the military. This is a class C misdemeanor and comes with a fine of up to $500.

Women’s health care and reproductive rights were again a concern in the last legislative session. Sam Robles, advocacy director at Progress Texas, tells us that progressives were able to stop some bills they saw as harmful from being passed. They also worked on passing some bi-partisan bills that improve health care for women in Texas.

In the last legislative session Texas law makers passed 10 bills that make owning and opening carrying a gun easier.

But also a law was passed that prevents convicted felons from getting a concealed carry license if they have misdemeanor convictions, pending criminal charges, chemical or alcohol addiction, certain psychological diagnosis or restraining orders.

But overall Gyl Switzer of Gun Sense Texas says most new gun laws in the state are not going to make Texas safer. And she said there is no evidence that after the deadly El Paso Walmart shooting that Texas will get serious about restricting  access for guns.

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi