New Laws Take Effect January 1, 2004 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/29/03

New Laws Take Effect January 1, 2004

In 2004, the Texas legislature will put tuition prices in the hands of state university administrators, which could mean bad news for Texas Tech students. "The families that send their kids to Tech tend to make less money as a family than the kids that go to U.T. or Texas A&M," says State Representative, Carl Isett.

Just this past summer, Tech students saw a 19% jump in tuition rates an average of $400 more per semester. With increasing enrollment, Isett says regulating tuition still may not be enough to fund Texas Tech. “The question will become will we build new buildings if we have to build more infrastructure hire more teachers the tuition alone may not cover the state funding so we'll have to step up the activities in Austin to fund that growth," says Isett.

Another law going into effect deals with abortion. Clinics will be required to explain the entire procedure and it's risks to women and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is performed. The law also requires that any abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy be performed at a licensed surgical center or hospital.

Your financial background may effect your insurance rates. As of January 1st, insurance companies can research your credit history to determine your premium. "Hopefully with this in place it allows insurance rates to be lower or that insurance companies can better classify the risk and the premiums associated with those who are at lower risk can pay lower premiums and have a higher risk can charge those people higher rates," says Isett.

On the conservation side of the law, the legislature has made driving through riverbeds a Class C Misdemeanor. "What the riverbed law was really designed to do was really preserve habitat," says Isett. Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens say some riverbeds show signs of erosion and decreased fish habitat and vegetation because of traffic from vehicles. "I don't think it's dangerous, I think they're looking out for our water," says State Game Warden, Quentin Terrel.

If you are caught driving through a riverbed, you could receive a fine of $500 or more.

For more information on this new law and others, just (click here).

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