AUSTIN - If you drink and drive, you will lose your license if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer in legislation passed in the Senate today. Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini sponsored an amendment to House Bill (HB) 2031 which allows an officer to take a drunk driver's license on the spot. Zaffirini says that threat will help keep people from driving while intoxicated.
"Suspending a driver's license certainly is a deterrent that could save lives and avert tragedies," said Zaffirini. The proposal increases the length of license suspensions for both refusing and for failing a breathalyser test. The penalties are more harsh for first arrests as well as repeat offenders. Also in this bill, officers could confiscate licenses upon arrest, but then issue a temporary driving permit which would be valid for up to 40 days.
Uninsured drivers were addressed in another amendment attached to HB 2031. It requires the Texas Department of Transportation to send out random notices to verify that people with vehicles registered in Texas have adequate insurance coverage. Those who do not send back proof of insurance may have to pay a fine and could have their vehicle registration suspended. Insurance identification cards would also be standardized to help reduce counterfeiting and fraud. Amarillo Senator Teel Bivins sponsored the amendment. "It is proven to dramatically reduce uninsured motorists in Illinois. And that's what this bill would do," said Bivins.
Minors in Texas will have to notify their parents or legal guardian if they want to get an abortion. The only other legal option for them is to obtain permission from a judge. Attempts to allow other options - such as other family members, members of the clergy, and justices of the peace - failed in both the House and the Senate. Plano Senator Florence Shapiro sponsored the Committee Substitute for Senate Bill (CSSB) 30 and says it is a parental rights issue.
Fort Worth Senator Mike Moncrief hopes minors will go to their parents as Shapiro plans, but fears some will choose a dangerous, illegal abortion instead. "I have this to say to you today--I pray you're right," said Moncrief. "I pray you're right." The Senate concurred with House changes to the bill. The bill now goes to the governor's desk for final approval.
Parents would find out if their children are being taught by uncertified teachers under the Committee Substitute for House Bill 618 which passed today. Schools would have to notify parents in writing if an uncertified or improperly certified teacher teaches the same class for 30 or more consecutive days. Beaumont Senator David Bernsen sponsored the bill.
The Senate will reconvene tomorrow, May 26, at 10:00 a.m.