This Week in Texas: August 14, 2013

Posted August 14, 2013 in The Mignon Memo

Gov. Rick Perry announced several staffing changes this week.  Kathy Walt was named chief of staff. Walt, a long-time adviser and staffer with the governor, began as his press secretary in 2000 and has most recently served in the governmental affairs office at the Lower Colorado River Authority.  Perry also named Jonathan Taylor as director of the Economic Development and Tourism Division and Aaron Demerson as senior advisor for economic development.

Former state representative Rodney Anderson announced that he will challenge Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) in the March Republican primary for House District 105. Harper-Brown and Anderson were paired in the same legislative
district after the 2011 redistricting process but Anderson chose not to run in 2012 for House District 105.

On September 1st, provisions of 698 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect.  Many of these provisions will impact every Texan as well as visitors to our state. Here are some examples:

  • Texas students entering high school this fall will take 5 state exams instead of the 15 exams previously required (House Bill 5)
  • Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs) will be allowed to prescribe or order drugs and devices, including certain controlled substances, under a physician’s supervision (Senate Bill 406)
  • Texans under the age of 18 will be prohibited from using a tanning bed or device unless the child’s parent or legal guardian, in person at the facility, consents in
    writing (Senate Bill 329)
  • Members of the public, including students, may now store a legal firearm or ammunition in their locked vehicle while parked on the campus of a public or private institution of higher education (Senate Bill 1907)
  • The penalty for hit-and-run fatalities will be equal to that for intoxicated manslaughter – a second-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 20 years (Senate Bill 275)
  • Small production breweries will be allowed to sell their products directly to customers to drink in the brewery’s tasting room (Senate Bill 518)
  • Texas motorists may now provide an image displayed on a wireless communication device that serves as proof of liability insurance (Senate Bill 181)