DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of new laws take effect in the Lone Star State this week.
Among those that begin Wednesday, September 1, measures that seek to crack down on a big problem in the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth: illegal street racing.
The new law will increase penalties for those who are speed racing, driving recklessly, and obstructing a highway or roadway from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor.
Anyone caught doing this who’s intoxicated or injures anyone, or who’s been convicted of these charges before would face increased penalties as well — a state jail felony.
The law also makes it a class B misdemeanor for anyone who interferes with a law enforcement officer investigating highway racing or reckless driving.
George Aranda, founder and director of the Dallas Chapter of the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization said Monday, August 30, that some officers have been hurt conducting these investigations, and some of those drivers who’ve been racing have been killed.
“I think it’s gonna make a big difference with some of these speeder racers finally getting the message especially now that, that we’re going to be able to seize their vehicles, play some of these spectators in jail.
And, you know, it’ll be good for everybody good for the officers good for the community and start taking some of these intersections back.”
A controversial bill that Governor Abbott signed into law would ban K-12 public schools from teaching students critical race theory.
The theory has been defined as an academic concept that racism is not just an individual’s bias but prejudice that has been a part of society’s policies.
The law requires students be taught about the history of white supremacy including slavery, the eugenics movement, which advocated for humans selectively breeding to obtain or avoid certain genetic traits, and the Ku Klux Klan and that all were all morally wrong.
The law won’t allow the teaching of the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which the publication says is aimed at reframing U.S. history in the context of when slaves first arrived.
Dr. Joe Feagin, a Sociology Professor at Texas A&M, said critical race theory has not been taught in public schools.
“K through 12 teachers, very few of them teach things like this. They’re not teaching critical race theory. That’s mostly seniors in academic colleges and universities and law students.”
Professor Feagin said some public school teachers are worried their classroom discussions could unintentionally attract complaints from parents and lead to them being penalized.
Another law would require the national anthem be played at most professional sporting events.
The law requires professional sports teams that have contracts with the state to play the anthem before the games begin.
A bill was introduced earlier this year after the Dallas Mavericks didn’t play the national anthem before games for a short period of time.
Among the other laws going into effect Wednesday, government entities and businesses can’t require COVID-19 vaccine passports or require proof of vaccination to enter a business.
Another law would ban government entities from closing places of worship during an emergency such as the pandemic.