31 Days, 31 Ways (2013)

Throughout August 2013, The Texas Tribune featured 31 ways Texans' lives would change come Sept. 1, the date many bills passed by the Legislature — including the budget — took effect.

Delcia Lopez

More Schools to Take Part in Breakfast Program

Public schools in which 80 percent or more of the students are eligible for a free or reduced-price meal must offer a free breakfast to all students starting this school year. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives. 

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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Minors Can No Longer Use Tanning Salons

This year, Texas joined several other states that ban minors from tanning indoors. Senate Bill 329, which takes effect Sept. 1, overrides a previous law that allowed certain minors — those between 16 ½ and 18 — to tan with parental consent. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives.

 

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Jennifer Whitney

New Law Protects Bison Alongside Cows, Llamas

Texas animal owners can rest assured that their cows, pigs, horses — even rhinos and elephants — are protected under the state's agriculture code if they wander off their property. But until the most recent legislative session, bison were not safe. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

New Laws Alter Health Care Policies in Texas

State lawmakers approved a wide range of measures in the 83rd legislative session that will affect Texans' medical care. Use this interactive to take a closer look at 31 ways those new laws will change Texas health policy. This is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Todd Wiseman

Law Enforcement Can Sell Confiscated Guns

For decades, weapons confiscated by police in Texas were supposed to be repurposed for law enforcement use — or else destroyed. Starting next month, some will be available for purchase. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

 

 

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Jim Media

New Voting Law Aims to Curb Ballot Harvesting

Lawmakers, who usually get bogged down in controversy over election laws, passed a mail-in ballot measure that Republicans and voter-advocacy groups agreed will help crack down on "ballot harvesting." This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Illustration by Caleb Bryant Miller / Micah Baldwin / Todd Wiseman

Some Worry New DNA Law Will Create Delays

Lawmakers this year approved a bill requiring DNA testing in death penalty cases. The measure aims to prevent wrongful convictions and save the state from costly appeals. Some prosecutors, though, worry that more testing could simply delay a guilty defendant’s inevitable conviction. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series.

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Redistricting Plan Set, But Legal Debate Isn't Over

Lawmakers passed a new set of congressional and legislative maps in their first special session. Redistricting has been a long and contentious process, and it is probably far from overThis story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Wenjing Zhang

State Board of Education Will No Longer Approve Charter Applicants

For the first time since the charter school system was created in 1995, the state education board will no longer play a central role in determining which charter school applications get approved. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

 

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Biggest Ethics Reforms Died on Governor's Desk

A few minor ethics measures passed in the 83rd legislative session. But the real story is what didn’t happen — the legislation that might have changed the information available to voters who’ll be making decisions about candidates. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Todd Wiseman

More Hospitals to Collect Sexual Assault Evidence

All Texas hospitals with emergency rooms will soon be required to have staff trained in at least basic collection of forensic evidence from sexual assault victims. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1.

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Todd Wiseman / Ben Hasson

Hard Copy Not Required: Law to Let Drivers Show Insurance on Phones

Motorists in Texas will soon be allowed to use their cellphones to show proof of insurance during traffic stops. Proponents of the legislation say that the law will increase at the efficiency at those stops. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Brandon Thibodeaux

Boater Education Courses Target Invasive Species

One way that invasive aquatic species like the zebra mussel can spread across Texas waterways is via boats that aren't cleaned. New legislation will require boater education courses to address the importance of boaters cleaning the vehicles. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Graphic by Todd Wiseman / Callie Richmond / Eric Kayne

Meningitis Vaccine Rules Scaled Back at Colleges

Fewer college students will be required to have meningitis vaccinations, and new rules also make it easier for some students to opt out of the vaccinations. Community college administrators are praising the changes. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

In an Accident, Drivers Have New Reasons to Stay

With new laws increasing the penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run fatalities or those who fail to stop and render aid, advocates hope there is more incentive for drivers to stay at the scene of accidents. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Todd Wiseman

Extra Cash Means New Equipment for 911 System

The Texas Legislature increased the Commission on State Emergency Services' budget by 33 percent. Much of that extra funding will go toward updating its 911 system, which serves 224 of the 254 counties in Texas. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Todd Wiseman / Ralph Merry / SJ Sanders

Dental Board's Review Process Gets Makeover

After hearing critics take aim at the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners, legislators approved new regulations that they hope will improve the board's efficiency.  This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1.  

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Graphic by Rebecca Lai / Chris Chang

Proxy Marriage Limits End Inmate Weddings

A new constraint on proxy marriage in Texas that is intended to prevent fraud will have a secondary effect: It will end inmates' ability to get married while incarcerated. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a month-long look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1.  

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera

State Awaits Federal Guidance to Drug Test Jobless Texans

Texans working in the transportation and health care industries are among those accustomed to taking drug tests as a condition of employment. Under a new state law, they will soon be subject to such screening if they lose their jobs and must seek unemployment benefits. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

  

 

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Tamir Kalifa

Craft Breweries Seeing New Doors Open

Texas' craft brewers are facing the biggest legislative overhaul the industry has seen in 20 years. News laws are letting them expand sales of their products. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a monthlong look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

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Rune Mathisen / Rebecca Lai

High School Students Will Take Fewer State Tests

Under House Bill 5, students entering high school this fall will take 10 fewer state exams than their classmates two years ahead of them. The old law required 15 state standardized exams to graduate. Now, students will need to pass only five. This story is part of our 31 Days, 31 Ways series, a month-long look at how the bills and budget passed by the 83rd Legislature will affect Texans' lives starting Sept. 1. 

 

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