Several new laws, including permitless carry and Sunday beer and wine sales time change, which were enacted during the 87th Legislature, are going to come into force in Texas from Sept. 1.
According to Khou.com, Texans are in for a surprise as 666 new laws start taking effect.
Some of these new laws include:
Permitless carry or House Bill 1927
The most controversial of all the new Texas legislation is arguably the permitless carry (or constitutional carry). Starting Wednesday, House Bill 1927, otherwise known as permitless carry, allows anyone who legally owns a gun to carry it in public even without securing a license or going through training. According to ProCon.org, Texas is one of 19 states with a similar law.
“Heartbeat bill” or Senate Bill 8
Another controversial Texas law is the so-called “heartbeat bill.” Also known as the Senate Bill 8, the “heartbeat bill” bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The heartbeat can sometimes be detected as early as five weeks after a missed period, so starting Wednesday, abortions at this stage will be illegal. There is an exception in the law for medical emergencies.
Marijuana access or House Bill 1535
With the enactment of House Bill 1535, more Texans will now have access to medical marijuana. Along with the extended qualifications, the new Texas law also allows an increase in the dosage limit, which was originally at .5% THC to up to 1% THC.
Sunday beer and wine sales or House Bill 1518
With the passage of HB 1518, Texas Sunday brunch just got a little saucier. Why? Well, if you are in Texas, then you may already buy beer and wine as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of waiting until noon. Liquor sales are still off-limits on Sundays.
Star-Spangled Banner or Senate Bill 4
With the passage of Senate Bill 4, the “Star-Spangled Banner” which is usually played in any game involving a pro sports team that contracts with the state, has just become a must.
House Bill 1540
Texas just made paying for sex a felony with the passage of Bouse Bill 1540, so it seems that some people will just have to take their business elsewhere or do it for free.
Felony punishment for blocking emergency vehicles or House Bill 9
With the new House Bill 9, protesters can now be charged with a felony if they block access to a hospital or an emergency vehicle with their lights on. The bill also states that whoever does so will be sent to a state jail. The bill was passed after protesters blocked ambulances during Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
Texas’ 2022-2023 budget or Senate Bill 1
The new SB 1 just provided nearly $250 billion for Texas, with notable funds going toward public higher education. Though Texas Governor Greg Abbott line-item vetoed the part of the budget that funds the Texas Legislature and its staff, it seems his decision to do so may be overturned by the lawmakers during this summer’s second special session.
Reducing barriers to SNAP or Senate Bill 224
SB 224 just simplified the access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for seniors and disabled people on fixed incomes. That said, eligible individuals can now forgo enrollment interviews and enjoy shortened application processes.
Funding the “1836 Project” or House Bill 2497
With the passage of HB 2497, Texas just established an “1836 Project” committee to mirror New York City’s “1619 Project.” With this new law, a committee that will produce patriotic Texas history materials will be established and the material produced will be distributed through channels such as when people receive driver’s licenses.
Social studies curriculum changes or House Bill 3979
The passage of HB 3979 effectively limits teachers from discussing current events and systemic racism in class. The bill also prohibits students from receiving class credit for participating in civic engagement and bans teaching of New York City’s “1619 Project.”
Reducing pre-K class sizes or Senate Bill 2081
Under SB 2081, prekindergarten classes are now capped at 22 students, just like any other elementary school grades.
New state employee retirement accounts or Senate Bill 321
With the passage of SB 321, new state workers hired after Sept. 1, 2022 are enrolled in a cash-balance plan, which deposits a percentage of a worker’s annual compensation in their retirement accounts. This is similar to a 401(k) retirement account, which employees currently enjoy. That said, the new state workers will also have defined-benefit retirement accounts based on employment position and previous salaries.
Shielding companies from car crash liability or House Bill 19
Under HB 19, drivers of commercial vehicles — including Ubers, Lyfts and delivery trucks — can now be found liable in court if they ever cause a car crash that results in injury or death. And this can happen even before a case can be brought against their employer.
Active shooter alert system or House Bill 103
The passage of HB 103 creates the Texas Active Shooter Alert System. The new system is intended to notify Texans who are in the vicinity of an active shooting scene through their phones. The new system can also be activated by request of local law enforcement.
Police body cameras or House Bill 929
HB 929 is definitely a good thing for police officers as it requires them to keep body cameras on their person during active investigations. The law is named after Botham Jean, who was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer while eating ice cream in his apartment in 2018.
Banning unnecessary police chokeholds or Senate Bill 69
Under SB 69, police officers are now prohibited from using chokeholds or excessive force during arrests unless absolutely necessary to prevent officer or bystander injury. This new law also requires officers who witness such violations to report the incident.
Online ballot tracking system or House Bill 1382
Under HB 1382, Texas is creating an online tracking system for mail-in ballots and applications for mail-in ballots. Needless to say, the new system will be run by the Texas Secretary of State.
Punishing cities who cut police budgets or House Bill 1900
HB 1900 allows the state to punish municipalities who reduce their police budget. This only applies to municipalities with a population of more than 250,000. The punishment will come in the form of reduced sales tax revenues and a ban on increasing property taxes.
Criminalizing homeless camping or House Bill 1925
Under the new HB 1925, camping in unapproved public places is now a crime. This is now a misdemeanor crime that carries a fine of up to $500 and cities cannot opt out of this new ban.
These are only some of the new bills that will take effect on September 1. Not every bill signed into law during the regular session will go into effect this week as some bills already went into effect as soon as they were signed. A good example would be Senate Bill 968, which banned “vaccine passports” in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signed it in June.
Some other bills, like one that revises eminent domain negotiations between landowners and companies, will become law on Jan. 1, 2022.
As the legislature continues with its second special session, which Abbott primarily called to advance the GOP-backed voting restrictions bill, lawmakers are discussing other topics, including changes to the bail system and limits on transgender Texans from competing on school sports teams. There will be at least one more special session this fall to address redistricting issues.