New laws go into effect September 1 -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New laws go into effect September 1

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By Lauren Callahan

TEXAS (KLTV) - More than 700 laws passed by the Texas Legislature last spring go into effect Thursday, September  1st, including the statewide 2011-2013 budget.

Texas legislators cut deeply into the budget to account for a projected $15 billion deficit over the next two years.

Texas educators and students faced steep cuts. More than $4 billion was cut from school districts statewide, and at least 12,000 teachers were laid off before the start of the 2011-2012 school year according to the Texas State Teachers Association. Funding to Texas's five major financial aid programs decreased by 15 percent. More cuts are expected for next year.

One change affects nearly every Texan: the 65 mile per hour speed limit for truckers and nighttime drivers will be replaced by one speed limit, which is 70 miles per hour on most Texas roads. The Texas Department of Transportation can change speed limits to 75 miles per hour if engineering and safety studies deem roads to be reasonable and safe. No East Texas roads will immediately make the move from 70 to 75 miles per hour.

New gun laws allow gun owners to bring their guns and ammunition to work, as long as they are stored in their vehicles. However, guns cannot be carried in cars to private or public schools, federal buildings, or lands that contain oil, gas, or mineral leases. Gun owners also are not allowed to store guns in company cars.

Hog hunting is about to become much easier. The "pork chopper" bill allows helicopter hunters to hunt wild hog from low-flying helicopters. Hunters will be expected to pay about $500 per hour for the helicopter and are required to attend a safety course before hunting from the air.

Applicants for new driver's licenses and IDs will be required to provide proof of legal status. In 2012, new voter ID laws will require voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls.

For a complete list of laws, visit the Texas Legislature's website.

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