AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Hundreds of new state laws that lawmakers adopted during this year's legislative session take effect Tuesday, the first day of the state's 2010 fiscal year. Here's a sampling of them:
‚- The age of children required to ride in a booster seat goes from under five to under eight or shorter than 4-feet-9 inches.
‚- Using a handheld phone while driving through a school zone becomes illegal. But local authorities can only enforce the new restriction if signs announcing the ban are posted at the beginning of each school zone.
‚- All passengers in a vehicle will have to wear a seat belt, no matter their age or location in the car.
‚- Teenagers trying to get their first driver's license will have to get 34 hours of behind-the-wheel driving instruction. And they'll have to take a driving skills test in addition to the written test.
‚- Smokeless tobacco users will pay a higher tax.
‚- A proper method for folding the state flag becomes law
‚- High school students are being given more freedom to pursue the elective courses of their choice on the recommended graduation plan. Some districts have delayed implementation of the plan.
‚- Concealed handgun license holders will no longer face license suspension for refusing to display it to peace officers on demand.
‚- Carrying a concealed handgun into a bar will still be a Class A misdemeanor, but it's defensible if the business does not clearly state that 51 percent or more of its income is from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
‚- Defaulting on a student loan will no longer disqualify an applicant for a concealed handgun license.