By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - From smoke detectors to cigarettes, pregnant women to permission slips, the New Year brings new laws across the state. About a dozen new laws go into effect starting January 1st.
A new state wide driving law makes it illegal to use a cell phone in an active school zone. That includes texting and if caught, you could be stuck paying a hefty $500 fine. This is only if there is a sign enforcing the new law.
For smokers, all cigarettes sold in Texas must now be fire safe, meaning if left unattended the cigarette will burn itself out. This is a way to cut back on accidental fires like the one in Slaton back in 2008. Fire investigators say the blaze that killed an 85-year-old Slaton woman was started by a cigarette that was not completely put out.
For those renting there are a few new laws. Smoke detectors must be able to alert hearing-impaired Texans in rental properties if they request it from their landlords. Tenants also have the right to break a lease without getting charged if certain sex crimes or domestic violence occurs on the property.
As for home owners, a new law states appraisal districts must consider foreclosed properties when determining a home's value.
New health laws require pregnant women to be tested for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B during their first prenatal visit. They must also be tested a second time during their third trimester or when admitted for delivery. For college students in Texas wanting to live on campus, you have to first be vaccinated against meningitis. Teenagers between 16 and half to 18 years old must get written permission before heading off to the tanning bed.
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