New Year, New Laws

Almost 50 new state laws went into effect on the first of the year. Here are some of the new rules you should know about.

By Victoria Price

LUBBOCK, Tx. -- With the new year comes plenty of new laws for Texans. 47, to be exact. And they run the gamut, everything from new regulations for emergency dispatchers to new surcharges for dentists.

Here's what you should know about some of the new rules that could impact you:

-- A night out on the town may cost you more in 2014 than it did in 2013. That's because bars will now start charging an 8.25% tax on mixed drinks. Before now, liquor wasn't taxed, just beer and wine.

"Just like you pay sales tax on your food, now you'll just have that tax also included on your alcohol. Most other states do that as well," says Nick Muscari, owner of Nick's Sports Bar here in Lubbock.

-- Now in 2014, it's easier than ever to get a concealed handgun license. From here on out, DPS will no longer ask for Social Security numbers on CHL applications. And back in September, classroom hours for concealed carry courses were slashed in half.

-- Service animals used for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress will now have the same public access as dogs who assist the blind.

-- And if you live in an apartment, you'll have more rights as a tenant starting this year. A new law protects tenants whose utilities are included in their rent. They must be given fair notice if their utilities face disconnection, because the landlord failed to pay the bill.

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