Beginning on September 1, hundreds of new laws went into effect in Texas. Amongst these new regulations are a few that stand above the rest in terms of their impact on college students. Depending on your views, you will either love or hate these regulations. Young people are more affected by politics than some may think. From inappropriate text to changes in restrictions of certain weapons, here are a few of the bills passed that will have an affect on college life and young people in general.
I know that I am not the only student that has transferred to the University of Houston from a two-year college. When making a move, there always seems to be several course credits that don’t transfer over. Two-year colleges are inexpensive, so it makes sense to start there and work your way up. In 2017, students, parents, and the state spent about $60 million on classes that would not transfer, according to the Texas Coordinating Board of Higher Education. The Texas Coordinating Board of Higher Education oversees all of the higher education institutions in the state.
Senate Bill 25 requires universities to make a list of recommended courses for all of their majors. This will give students a layout and timeline of classes that should be taken. Additionally, it requires that universities detail all non-transferable credits to the board and the Legislature by March 1 every year. This bill will ensure that we students avoid wasting what limited funds that we have.
In north Texas, a woman was arrested for carrying a self-defense cat keychain. This cat keychain had sharp edges at the ears. The woman’s case was dismissed, but this situation led to legislation being filed to lift the ban on brass knuckles and similar weapons. These weapons have been illegal for over 100 years. House Bill 446 is following in the footsteps of a bill passed in 2017 that allowed knives to be carried in public. This law may prove to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, we can better protect ourselves, but on the other, we may need more defending.
Raising the Legal Smoking Age
Texas is now the 16th state to raise the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21. Aside from those enlisted in the military, we will have to wait a few years longer before we can smoke cigarettes and use tobacco products. Senate Bill 21 is an attempt to keep young people from picking up this addictive habit. It will be difficult to enforce, but if you are under 21- your right to indulge just went up in smoke.
If you are tired of receiving unsolicited sexually explicit pictures, then this new law is for you. This new regulation prohibits the sending of unwanted sexual photographs. If sent without consent, senders can be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor and fined up to $500. House Bill 2789 applies to texts, social media, dating apps, and even emails. Particularly, women are often bombarded with these inappropriate images. Many have accepted it as a part of dating, but this kind of sexual misconduct will no longer be tolerated in Texas. You may want to think twice before giving an unwanted peep show.
Doubling Down on Hazing
Stricter hazing regulations have now been passed in Texas. Senate Bill 38 holds more accountability on the universities. There is now immunity granted to anybody that voluntarily reports any incidences of hazing. Universities are also now held responsible for informing their students about hazing policies 14 days before the beginning of spring and fall semesters. The universities must notify students of the disciplinary actions resulting from hazing. These disciplinary actions need to be enforced within 3 years of the incident. Finally, the bill restricts forced alcohol or drug consumption. Any amount of alcohol that would intoxicate a student cannot be forced upon them.
University life is already stressful as it is. Between maintaining classes, homework, exams, and social life, students don’t need any additional stress added to their plates. Hopefully, these new regulations will help to make life a little easier and better for college students.
Featured graphic by Jiselle Santos