Senate Bill 117, which aims to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in public universities is one of several new laws that Texas is expected to pass in 2024. In a historic legislative action, this bill will harmonize Texas with Florida by dismantling DEI offices, beginning January 1. On one side, we have those who are in favor of a meritocracy and those who are concerned about the potential negative impact on equality and diversity.
Simultaneously, there will be a cap on appraisal rises for specific properties and property tax relief for homeowners, as well as a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for pensions received by retired teachers. The sale of electronic cigarettes and vape pens to children is now considered a Class B misdemeanor, which means that public health regulations will change to prevent underage sales. In addition to releasing commemorative license plates in honor of the centennial of the state hymn “Texas, Our Texas,” the Lone Star State is embracing its rich history.
These kinds of legislation show how laws shape social dynamics and provide online safety in our fast-digitalizing world, and they don’t just affect local areas. Some states are taking action to promote digital literacy and equality; for example, California, Alabama, and Arkansas have all passed legislation to clarify online free speech and improve digital citizenship.
The significance of equipping the next generation for the digital world they will inhabit is highlighted by Florida’s dedication to school-based internet safety rules. Equal broadband access is becoming more acknowledged, and the Federal Communication Commission is responding by concentrating on anti-discrimination regulations in the digital realm.
There seems to be growing agreement among lawmakers that internet safety, education, and ethical behavior must be addressed holistically. Legislators are doing double duty by responding to the complex problems of the digital era with regulations that link people to technology and guarantee equitable use of digital resources. The laws of Texas are a microcosm of the greater, continuous change, a portent of the changing nature of the link among laws, social dynamics, and public policy in the information society, as we move through this new age.