New Texas Laws Take Effect
A handful of new laws went into effect in Texas over the weekend that aim to do everything from curb school bullying to regulate farmers markets.
The bullying law requires schools to adopt anti-bullying plans; a minimum set of standards is required statewide, although districts are free to write more specific plans themselves, including protections for gay and lesbian students. Perhaps the biggest change is that bullies themselves can now be moved to other campuses, whereas traditionally, it’s been the victims who were transferred out of schools where they were bullied.
A so-called puppy mill bill is also in effect, meant to cut down on overbreeding of pet dogs. Parts of the law went into effect a year ago, but as of this month, breeders must have licenses.
Farmers markets also come under greater regulatory scrutiny this month. A section of another law passed last year has gone into effect that regulates sales at markets. But the law carves out exemptions for small-time food producers — vendors of staples like pastries, breads and jams.
Local health departments may not regulate the production of the vendors’ foods, but they can maintain a record of complaints lodged against the vendor.
Workers at day care centers, family shelters and after-school programs are now subject to stricter regulation as well, with new laws allowing the state to collect fingerprints from a wider range of those workers.