New laws effective today, Sept. 1

Here are the details on several laws that have been discussed, approved and passed
New laws effective today, Sept. 1

New laws effective today, Sept. 1

AUSTIN, Texas – Beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, 666 new Texas laws went into effect. During the 87th Texas Legislature, these laws were debated, passed and signed. They include changes to public safety, health care and K-12 education.

Although some laws went into effect on Sept. 1, some bills went into effect as soon as they were signed. Senate Bill 968, banning “vaccine passports” in Texas, became law when Governor Greg Abbott signed it in June. Other bills that were signed will go into effect at a later date.

Here is a list of the new laws you should know:

Texas’ 2022-2023 budget: Senate Bill 1 provides approximately $250 billion for Texas, with a majority of funds going toward public higher education. Although Governor Abbott line-item vetoed the part of the budget that funds the Texas Legislature and the people who staff it, lawmakers may restore funding during the summer’s second special election.

Permitless carry: House Bill 1927 allows Texans ages 21 and older to carry handguns without training or a license, as long as they aren’t legally prevented from doing so.

Abortion restrictions: Senate Bill 8 prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. On behalf of government enforcement, private individuals can sue abortion providers or people assisting with abortions after an ultrasound detects what lawmakers define as a fetal heartbeat. At this stage of development, embryos don’t have a heart. According to medical and legal experts, the sound Republican lawmakers are referring to is the motion of electrical pulses. These pulses stimulate muscle cells in a tube that will eventually become part of the heart. Currently, abortion providers are suing to block the law. HB 1280 would also outlaw abortion in Texas 30 days after any possible U.S. Supreme Court decision overturns Roe v. Wade.

Street Racing: House Bill 2315 allows law enforcement to seize vehicles involved in or intending to be involved in misdemeanor or felony highway racing. This especially effects those who are considered a repeated offender. According to the Houston Chronicle, the bill also allows the seizure of vehicles in cities across Texas.

More laws that become effective on Sept. 1:

Expanding medical marijuana: Beginning Sept. 1, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will expand to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages. This program allows them to use “low-THC cannabis.” THS, an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, can be consumed a variety of ways, including swallowing capsules and consuming edibles and oils. Although THC can be consumed through smoking, it won’t be permitted under this program. The new law will expand to include veterans with PTSD. It will also expand to an estimated 114,000 Texans who have cancer.

Critical race theory: House Bill 3979 requires educators to teach students about founding documents of the U.S. These documents include the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers. Under this bill, students also must be taught “the history of white supremacy.” The bill also states that a teacher “may not be compelled to discuss a particular current event or widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs.” Students also can’t earn extra credit for political activism or lobbying officials on issues.

Star Spangled Banner Protection Act: Senate Bill 4 requires professional sports teams that receive government funds from the State of Texas to play the Star Spangled Banner. Teams who don’t follow the protection act will be subject to penalties. This includes having to repay the money paid to the team by the state or any government entity. The team may also be ineligible to receive further money.

Alcohol purchase before noon on Sundays: In May 2021, the legislature approved House Bill 1518. This bill allows hotels to sell alcohol to guests at any time of the day. Governor Abbott signed House Bill 1518 on June 18, 2021. Starting on Sept. 1, Texans will be allowed to buy wine and beer in stores at 10 a.m. rather than waiting till noon.