CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY:HB1927: Anyone age 21 who can legally own a handgun can legally carry that handgun in public without a license or training. It is illegal however to carry that gun while intoxicated and the law includes stiffer penalties for felons caught illegally carrying guns. The law was not passed without controversy. Some law enforcement groups said the law would endanger the public and police while supporters said 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 off-limits to firearms and the new law does not change where guns cannot be carried, including: a polling place; a government meeting open to the public; a courthouse; a school or school-related activity; a racetrack; a jail; an airport; an amusement park; a bar; a restaurant selling alcohol.Read more on the law here.
TEXAS 2022-23 BUDGET:SB1: The House and Senate approve a two-year $250 billion budget that lawmakers said spends less than our current budget and better funds public schools.Our partners at The Dallas Morning News have more on the budget here.
STAR-SPANGLED BANNER ACT:SB4: Requires that the national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, be played before games played by professional sports teams that contract with the state.
TEXAS HEARTBEAT BILL:SB8: Texas' "Heartbeat Bill" bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant. The lawallows private citizens to enforce the rule, not the state, through civil lawsuits against doctors and others. Similar laws in other states have been successfully challenged in federal court, though Texas lawmakers hope placing enforcement in the hands of citizens will help defeat challenges.
BLOCKING AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE:HB9: Provides for criminal punishment and the conditions of community supervision for someone who blocks the path of an emergency vehicle. Depending on the circumstance, the punishment could be a misdemeanor or felony.
ACTIVE SHOOTER ALERT SYSTEM:HB103: Also known as the Leilah Hernandez Act, this law creates the Texas Active Shooter Alert System which will be activated via the federal Wireless Emergency Alert System on the report of an active shooter. This is expected to work in the same way Amber Alerts, Blue Alerts, etc., are distributed on phones. The information could alert people to the situation, a suspected shooter's identity or last known location, or other relevant information. Leilah Hernandez, 15, was the youngest victim killed during a 2019 mass shooting in Midland-Odessa.
BO'S LAW:HB929: Known as the Botham Jean Act, or Bo's Law, this law ensures that cameras worn by law enforcement officers will remain on during an active investigation. The law came about after Jean was fatally shot in his apartment by off-duty Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who entered Jean's apartment and mistook it for her own.Testimony in Guyger’s murder trial revealedDallas Police Association President Mike Mata asked another officer to turn off a camera inside a squad car at the scene of the shooting so Guyger and Mata could speak privately. Mata said Guyger was going to take a call from her attorney and had the right to attorney-client privilege. Bo's law establishes guidelines for when a recording can be discontinued considering the need for privacy in certain situations and locations.
MAIL-IN BALLOT TRACKING:HB1382: This bill amends Election Code to add electronic tracking for applications for mail-in ballots. The bill tasks the secretary of state with creating an online tool for people who submit applications for a ballot to track the location and status of the application and the ballot.
SUNDAY BEER/WINE SALES:HB1518: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code was amended to allow beer and wine to be sold after 10 a.m. on Sundays. Prior to Sept. 1, 2021, beer and wine could not be sold before noon on Sundays. Liquor is still not allowed to be sold on Sundays at any time.
"DEFUNDING POLICE" PROTECTIONS:HB1900: Municipalities with populations of more than 250,000 that adopt budgets that reduce year-over-year appropriations to police departments could be subject to financial penalties from the state if those reductions are out of line with other reductions to the budget. The bill also blocks future annexation and allows areas annexed within the last 30 years to appeal for de-annexation that is decided during an election.
Not every bill passed by the legislature goes into effect on Sept. 1. Some went into effect immediately while others have effective dates in the future. Future effective dates vary, some will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, while others may not go into effect until 2026.