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ASK A COP — Police Chief: Be safe this Labor Day

From the desk of the Port Arthur Chief of Police Tim Duriso: I, along with the hard-working men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department, want to encourage each of you to have a safe and happy Labor Day celebration. With that said, we encourage everyone to drink responsibly, and if you believe or know you’ve consumed too much alcoholic beverage, please DO NOT operate a motor vehicle. Law enforcement agencies statewide will be out in force to ensure state laws such on driving while intoxicated, disregarding traffic signals, safety belts and others are being adhered to. Drivers are responsible for safe motoring within their neighborhood, city, community, county and in the great state of Texas. Let’s all have a Happy Labor Day!!!

Port Arthur and surrounding communities take note that new laws and changes to existing laws will take place starting Sept. 1 in Texas. Here’s a list of a few of the changes:

— Texans who legally own firearms will be able to carry them in public after a state of natural disaster is declared. This law came after complaints Harvey victims weren’t able to take their guns during mandatory evacuations.

— Licensed handgun holders can legally carry in places of worship unless asked not to. Places of worship will still be able to ban weapons.

— Landlords won’t be able to ban renters from having guns in their apartments. School districts can no longer ban the possession of firearms that are stored in locked vehicles.

— Mail/package stealing: We are aware and have seen videos of package thieves especially around Christmas time. Now this crime will be graded a felony to steal anything considered mail including letters, postcards, packages and other sealed items. It’s a first-degree felony if you steal from more than 50 people, a second-degree felony if you steal from 20–50 people, and a state felony if you steal from fewer than 10 people.

— Alcohol delivery: SB 1232 allows restaurants, bars or businesses with a mixed beverage permit to deliver alcohol with food to homes or other off-premises locations. Only persons 21 can deliver and receive alcohol.

— SB21 Cigarette purchase/possession: 21 is now the minimum age for tobacco purchase and use/possession in Texas. Exemption is given for those persons in the military 18 years of age and above. Texas is the 14th state to raise the tobacco minimum age to 21.

— SB 2048 totally wipes out the Driver Responsibility Program, which required Texans convicted of certain traffic offenses to pay an annual surcharge on top of criminal penalties and court fines in order to keep and use their driver’s licenses. Motorists who’ve had their licenses suspended under the previous law will now get them reinstated. All monies owed to the state of Texas via surcharges on Sept. 1 will be forgiven.

— All traffic tickets and moving violations in the state will be increased by $20 and higher fines for those guilty of D.W.I

— Brass knuckles: HB 446 changes the Texas Penal Code to make brass knuckles legal to carry.

— Cough syrup: HB 1518 requires someone 18 years or older to purchase over-the-counter medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan

— Hunting/fisher men and women will love this: HB 547 allows people in Texas to show digital images of hunting and fishing licenses.

— School marshals: HB 1387 abolishes the cap on how many school marshals a campus can appoint.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday (Today) for 1 hour from 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via Internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247.

 Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!