666 new laws signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott went into effect Sept. 1. The new state laws — including one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, the right to carry handguns both concealed and openly without a license, changes to election law and a bill allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to go — were passed during the 87th Legislative Session.
For a list of all laws passed, visit capitol.texas. gov/Reports/Report.aspx?LegSess=87R&ID=effectivesept1
Session ends Sept. 7.
“The 87th Legislative Session was a monumental success, and many of the laws going into effect today will ensure a safer, freer, healthier, and more prosperous Texas,” Abbott said. “I look forward to my continued work with the legislature to build upon these successes and create an even brighter future for the Lone Star State.”
Some of the more controversial laws, such as the abortion bill and the election law, face judicial challenges from opponents, although the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear an appeal to the abortion bill, which bans the procedure if a woman is more than six weeks pregnant.
State aiding Ida victims
Abbott announced Wednesday that additional resources and personnel have been deployed to assist in the response and recovery efforts in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Those resources include 116 guardsmen from a battalion tactical command and several platoons with high-water vehicles and other heavy equipment.
“Texas remembers the generous support offered by Louisianans during Hurricane Harvey four years ago, and we have recognized their need for additional help as they recover from the destruction of Hurricane Ida earlier this week,” Abbott said. “We will continue to help our neighbors in need, just as they did for us.”
Zebra mussels now invaded 34 Texas lakes
With the designation of Lake Worth in Tarrant County on the Trinity River as “infested” with invasive zebra mussels, 28 Texas reservoirs are considered fully infested, with another half dozen lakes containing the pest. Zebra mussels negatively affect reservoir ecosystems by filtering out algae that native species need for food and attaching to and thus incapacitating native mussels. They are also notorious for clogging water intakes in power plants, which spend millions of dollars removing them.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says boaters play a critical role in preventing zebra mussels from spreading to new lakes.
“Each boater taking steps to clean and drain their boat before leaving the lake and allowing compartments and gear to dry completely when they get home can make a big difference in protecting our Texas lakes,” Brian Van Zee, TPWSD inland fisheries director, said.
Transporting zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species, knowingly or not, can result in legal woes for boaters. It is illegal in Texas and punishable with a fine of up to $500 per violation. Boaters are also required to drain all water from their boats and onboard receptacles, including bait buckets, before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water.
To learn more about zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas, visit tpwd.texas.gov/ StopInvasives.
Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches and Cedar Park. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.