This Week in Texas: August 26, 2009

Posted August 26, 2009 in The Mignon Memo

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Carlos Rubinstein of Austin to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality effective Aug. 31, 2009, for a term to expire Aug. 31, 2015, and appointed Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., of Round Rock as presiding officer of the commission effective Sept. 10, 2009. TCEQ oversees and establishes policy for the state’s lead environmental permitting and enforcement agency.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’s communications director Angela Hale announced her departure from the Speaker’s office to join Red Media Group as managing partner. Red Media Group is a strategic communications company with offices in Austin and Dallas.

Many of the new laws passed by the Texas Legislature this past spring will take effect next week on September 1st. 643 bills to be exact. The entire list can be found here. Here are two that will likely affect most Texans:

  • House Bill 537 requires all vehicle occupants to wear a safety belt regardless of age or where they are seated in the vehicle. That means you backseat drivers have to buckle up. The bill also raises the age limit for booster seats from 5 years old to 8 years old or at least 4 feet, 9 inches in height. The booster seat provision will not be enforced until June of 2010 in order to allow time for parents to comply.
  • House Bill 55 prohibits the use of cell phones while driving in school zones unless the vehicle is stopped or making an emergency call. However, local governments are supposed to post signs at the beginning of each school zone to inform drivers of the new law in order to enforce it. With many local governments already cutting their budgets, expect these signs to go up very slowly.