The 2021 Texas legislative session created a host of new laws that came into effect from September 1. Some of these received a lot of coverage in the Texas media, such as Senate Bill 8 - the anti-abortion law and Senate Bill 1- the voting integrity bill. But there are others you may have missed.
To ensure you are across some of these- below are five of the laws to be aware of.
1. The heartbeat bill
Perhaps the most controversial of the new laws is the so-called 'heartbeat bill.' It has been criticized by Democrats and pro-life groups and even President Joe Biden has spoken out against it.
On May 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that would prohibit in Texas abortions as early as six weeks. This would also allow private citizens to sue abortion providers and others.
It was expected that the Supreme Court of the United States could block this law but this hasn't occurred.
2. Alcohol to go
From September 1, customers are allowed to pick up alcohol (i.e., mixed drinks, wine, and malt beverages, which will include both beer and ale) with food orders. Many businesses pivoted to this when COVID-19 restrictions were put into place.
When the new law was announced in May, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Association welcome the news.
“This new law will help businesses keep their doors open and ensure Texans keep their jobs. TABC is grateful to Governor Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature for their leadership on this critically important measure. And a big thank you goes out to the efforts of alcohol retailers who have been safely and responsibly selling alcohol to go under last year’s waiver.” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles
This is a new law that I think many Texans will be supportive of.
3. Vaccine passports banned
“Texas is open 100%, and we want to make sure you have the freedom to go where you want without limits. Vaccine passports are now prohibited in the Lone Star State.” Texas Gov Greg Abbott
On June 7, Gov Abbott signed a law prohibiting any Texas business or government entity from requiring vaccine passports or vaccine information.
4. Open carry
House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. This means from September 1, all Texans 21 or over without a criminal record will be able to carry a handgun without a license and without passing a training class.
Background checks will still be required as per Federal law.
At the time of the announcement, a Univesity of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found that 59% of Texans opposed unlicensed carry.
5. Star-spangled banner
Professional sports teams in Texas will be required to play the National Anthem prior to any sporting game. The "Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act," Senate Bill 4, applies to professional sports teams that receive government funds from the state of Texas, requiring them to play the song.
It came in part as a response to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban canceling the National Anthem before his NBA side played. At the time, Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick was a vocal critic.
Readers, what do you think of these new Texas laws that came into effect in September? Are there any that you strongly disagree with? Or are their ones that should be scrapped.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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