Naked City

Proof that the Lege actually exists

If you're looking for evidence that the Texas Legislature did something this year, the proof of lawmakers' productivity – hundreds of new state laws – takes effect today (Thursday). Here's a sampling of changes on the books:

Vehicle emissions: Annual car inspections must now include an emissions test on vehicles two years or older, adding $16 to the tab. It'll cost us more time and money, but we'll be healthier for it.

Abortion restrictions: Physicians must have written consent from a parent before performing an abortion on unmarried females aged 18 or under. Also, the law prohibits doctors from performing abortions past 26 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother's life is in danger or the baby has serious brain damage.

Life without parole: Until now, capital murder case juries could choose between lethal injection or life in prison with possible parole after 40 years. The parole option is now off the table.

Cell phones: Teenagers are prohibited from talking on a cell phone while driving, but only for the first six months after receiving a driver's license.

Child Protective Services: A massive overhaul will put controversial privatization measures to the test – this also includes the hiring of 2,500 new caseworkers.

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    Market for renewable energy continues to grow

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    A longtime government statistician crosses the Bush administration and loses his job
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    Despite massive money and law enforcement energy, people are still toking up

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    Public outcry convinces TPWD to nix purchase offer

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    Witness says student was in love with Pitonyak

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    Pro- and anti-war factions faced off during the final weekend of Camp Casey in Crawford

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    Nightclubs aren't the only things for which smoking will be banned

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    The city is planning to plan

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Legislature, Child Protective Services, abortion, vehicle emissions

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