In the weird years when the Texas legislature is in session, a whole mess of new laws usually goes into effect on September 1st. This year is no exception, with the legislature approving 666 laws that will go into effect on Wednesday.
Although they are not listed, you can see some of the great ones below. At the bottom of the page you can find a link to the full list of new laws.
TEXAS BUDGET 2022-23: SB1: The House and Senate approve a $ 250 billion two-year budget, according to lawmakers, that spends less than our current budget and better finances public schools. Our The Dallas Morning News partners have more budget here.
ACT OF BANNERS WITH STARS: SB4: Requires that the national anthem, the starry flag, be played before the games of professional sports teams that contract with the state.
TEXAS HEARTBEAT BILL: SB8: Texas’ “Heartbeat Bill” Prohibits Abortions Once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur six weeks after pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. The law allows private citizens to enforce the rule, not the state, through civil lawsuits against doctors and others. Similar laws from other states have been successfully challenged in federal courts, though Texas lawmakers hope putting the application in the hands of citizens will help defeat the challenges.
EMERGENCY VEHICLE BLOCK: HB9: Provides for criminal punishment and community supervision conditions for someone blocking the passage of an emergency vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, punishment may be a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor offense.
POLICE COOKEHOLDS: SB69: Police officers are no longer permitted to use a carotid artery restraint, retention, or similar neck restraint device, unless necessary to prevent injury to the officer; police officers also have a duty to intervene to stop or prevent another police officer from using force against a person if that force exceeds what is reasonable or if the officer knows that the use of that force it is a violation of the law or puts a person at risk of bodily injury.
ACTIVE SHOOTER ALERT SYSTEM: HB103: Also known as the Leilah Hernandez Act, this law creates the Texas Active Shooter Alert System that will be activated using the federal wireless emergency alert system to report an active shooter. It is expected to work in the same way that phones are distributed with amber alerts, blue alerts, and so on. The information may alert people to the situation, the alleged identity of the shooter or the last known location or any other relevant information. Leilah Hernandez, 15, was the youngest victim killed during a 2019 mass shooting in Midland-Odessa.
LAW OF THE GOOD: HB929: Known as the Botham Jean Act, or Bo Act, this law ensures that cameras carried by police officers remain on during an active investigation. The law came after Jean was shot dead in his apartment by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who broke into Jean’s apartment and confused him with his own. Witnesses to Guyger’s murder trial revealed that Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata asked another officer to turn off a camera inside a squadron car at the scene of the shooting so that Guyger and Mata could speak in private. Mata said Guyger was going to get a call from his lawyer and was entitled to attorney-client privilege. Bo’s law sets guidelines for when a recording can be interrupted taking into account the need for privacy in certain situations and locations.
TRACKING BALLS BY MAIL: HB1382: This bill amends the Electoral Code to add electronic tracking of voting requests by email. The bill instructs the Secretary of State to create an online tool for people who submit voting applications to track the location and status of the application and voting.
SUNDAY BEER SALE / VI: HB1518: The Texas Alcohol Code was amended to allow the sale of beer and wine after 10 a.m. on Sundays. Prior to September 1, 2021, beer and wine could not be sold on Sundays before noon. You still can’t sell liquor on Sundays at any time.
PROTECTIONS “DEFINITION OF THE POLICE”: HB1900: Municipalities with more than 250,000 inhabitants adopting budgets that reduce year-on-year allocations to police departments could be subject to financial sanctions by the state if these reductions are out of line with other budget cuts. The bill also blocks future annexation and allows annexed areas over the past 30 years to appeal the disengagement that is decided during elections.
CRIMINALIZATION OF THE HOMELESS CAMPING: HB1925: This law prohibits homeless people from camping in public places and criminalizes the act by making it a Class C misdemeanor with a $ 500 fine. The law also says that a political subdivision cannot designate a property for use by homeless people for camping without an approved plan.
CONSTITUTIONAL TRANSPORT: HB1927: Anyone 21 years of age who can legally own a gun can legally carry it in public without a license or training. However, it is illegal to carry this weapon in a state of intoxication and the law includes tougher sanctions for criminals illegally caught with guns. The law was not passed without controversy. Some law enforcement groups said the law would endanger the public and police, while supporters said it would allow Texans to better defend themselves in public, while abolishing unnecessary impediments to the constitutional right to bear arms. Texas law also makes some places always outside the limits of firearms and the new law does not change where weapons cannot be transported, including: a polling place; a government meeting open to the public; a court; a school or school-related activity; a racecourse; a prison; an airport; an amusement park; a bar; a restaurant that sells alcohol. Read more about the law here.
PATRIOTIC EDUCATION: HB2497 and HB3979: As the debate over critical race theory continues during the second special session, Texas lawmakers passed two bills in the regular session aimed at teaching the history of America and Texas at the schools. HB2497 is related to Project Texas 1836, an effort to teach “Patriotic Education” since the state war for Mexico’s independence. The bill provides for an advisory committee “to promote patriotic education and raise awareness of Texas values that continue to stimulate limitless prosperity in this state.” Lawmakers also approved HB3979, which says that “a teacher, administrator, or any other employee of a state agency, school district, or open enrollment charter school may not (C) require an understanding of Project 1619.” The project is a long-running New York Times journalistic project that “seeks to reformulate the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of our national narrative.”
ERCOT CHANGES: HB2586 and SB1281: Two laws related to the devastating winter storm of February 2021 and the power grid will go into effect Wednesday. HB2586 requests an annual audit of each independent organization certified for the ERCOT power region. The auditors will examine the board members, salaries, budgets, and expenses of each organization. According to SB1281, a certified independent organization will conduct a biennial assessment of the reliability of the ERCOT power grid in extreme weather scenarios.
Although the aforementioned laws passed and come into force on Wednesday, the state legislature is currently busy in the second special session working on other important issues raised by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, including the Electoral Integrity and Reform Bill. of property tax, limits to transgender children competing in sports teams. A third special session is expected to be convened this fall to address redistricting.
Not all bills passed by the legislature come into force on September 1st. Some went into effect immediately, while others have effective dates in the future. Future effective dates vary, some will take effect on January 1, 2022, while others will not take effect until 2026.
To see a list of the 666 laws passed by the 87th Texas legislature that come into force on September 1, click here.