New state laws that come into effect on September 1
The 87th Texas Legislature passed a number of new laws that will come into effect on September 1. Below is a list and brief description of some of these laws:
HB 1927 Constitutional Portage
This law eliminates the requirement for Texans to obtain a license to carry handguns, as long as they are not prohibited from owning a firearm by federal state law.
HB 5 broadband internet access
This bill creates a “National Broadband Development Board” which will provide grants, low interest loans and other incentives to create broadband access in Texas, especially in rural areas. It is estimated that nine million Texans (out of a total of 28 million Texans) do not have broadband Internet service.
Reform ERCOT SB 2 and SB 3
These bills are aimed at preventing another statewide power outage, as Texas experienced the extreme freeze in February. SB 2 reorganizes the board of directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the organization that manages the Texas electricity grid. In the restructured council, the state would appoint the majority of council members. SB 3 requires generator sets to update equipment to withstand extreme temperatures
SB 8 fetal heart rate bill
This law prohibits abortions in Texas after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which can be as early as six weeks. An exception for medical emergencies is allowed.
HB 1280 Roe v. Wade Trigger Law
This law would ban abortions in Texas in 30 days if the United States Supreme Court overturns “Roe v. Wade ”, the 1973 legal case that legalized abortion.
SB 4 Stars and Stripes Protection Act
This law requires any professional sports team under contract with the State of Texas government to play the national anthem before the start of each game. SB 4 was written by Senator Dawn Buckingham, who represents Brown and other central Texas counties.
HB 1239 Prohibition of church closures
This law prohibits state agencies or officials from issuing orders that “close or have the effect of closing places of worship in the state”. This bill was inspired by public orders to close churches and other places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HB 3979 Critical Race Theory
This law prohibits the teaching of critical race theory and prescribes how teachers in Texas can discuss current events and the history of racism in the United States. The “Critical Race Theory” asserts that race and racism are an integral part of American history and society. The bill includes a list of historical documents for students to learn. It also requires students to learn “the history of white supremacy, including, but not limited to, the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is. morally reprehensible ”.
SB 968 Vaccine Passport Bill
This law prohibits any Texas business from requiring “vaccine passports” or vaccine information.
HB 1024 Alcohol to take away
This bill makes permanent the authorization for restaurants to sell take-out alcohol, provided it is ordered with food. (Restaurants had been given temporary permission for this during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Pickup and delivery are both allowed.
HB 1540 Paying for sex a crime
This law increases the penalty for paying for sex from a misdemeanor to a felony. The authors of the bill argue that prostitution is the main driver of human trafficking and hope that criminal sanctions will reduce the demand for paid sex, and thus the incitement to human trafficking.
This law makes medical marijuana accessible to patients with cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, if prescribed by a doctor.
Protection for employees who file sexual harassment complaints
Currently, only employers with 15 or more employees can be prosecuted for sexual harassment in Texas. This new law subjects all employers or persons in a managerial position to complaints of sexual harassment. It also extends to 300 days, from 180 the number of days an applicant must file.