By Elsa Maxey
There are hundreds of new state laws that now apply to residents of Fort Bend County.
Many have already heard about how a sonogram is required before an abortion, sexting by a minor sharing a sexually explicit photo or message on a cell phone is now a crime, and the slower nighttime speed limit is no more. In fact, you may have noticed the removal of those posted speed limit signs that will all be down by mid-December.
Under new legislation, highways through Texas will no longer have different speed limits for nighttime and daytime, and the maximum state speed limit in Texas is 85 miles per hour, the highest in the country. But, just because the state limit is higher may not mean the speed limits will be raised. A speed study by the end of the year will determine it. According to a Texas Highway Patrol trooper, he said different speed limits for trucks on the roads is also being eliminated.
The laws were enacted this year and a majority of them went into effect at the beginning of the month, unless otherwise specified, like the one about the photo ID to vote.
The new laws states you must show a photo ID at the polls to vote. But the law “does not affect elections occurring prior to January 1, 2012,” advises Fort Bend County’s Elections Administrator John Oldham. In fact, he said “this bill (SB 100) is subject to pre-clearance by the United Sates Department of Justice.”
Oldham told the “Star” that due to some stories about the new laws in effect starting this September, some voters may be under the impression that they will be required to provide a photo ID if they vote this November. “This is not the case,” he said.
This year the state legislature also passed a law to cut down on frivolous civil lawsuits with the “loser pays” bill. It applies to both sides and is not intended to discourage people with legitimate claims from filing a civil suit, according to a legal source.
Gun owners, those legally in possession of a weapon, may now store them and their ammo in their parked vehicles at their workplace during business hours. And if you want to, you can “noodle” a catfish now. That means that with a valid fishing license you can catch a catfish with your hands, which used to be against the law.