Check out some of these new Texas laws effective Sept. 1
There are literally 666 new laws going into effect in the state of Texas on September 1, and although the number 666 is usually synonymous with something evil, not all these new laws are evil. For many, some of these new laws are dangerous and downright concerning though.
Back in June 2021, the Houston Forward Times published an article entitled “A ‘Setup’ Waiting to Happen” where we discussed the ‘permitless carry’ legislation that was being discussed and how it could negatively impact the Black community and potentially lead to more problems.
That bill (HB 1927) has since been signed into law and will take effect Sept. 1. This law will literally allow any Texas resident age 21 and over to openly carry a handgun in public without any permit, license, or training. You heard that right!
By signing HB 1927 into law, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has given more people the ability to carry handguns by eliminating the requirement that Texas residents have a license to carry one. I mean, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will be required to offer a free, online course in gun safety, but it is not mandatory.
This new law will also allow for less accountability, in that Texans will not have to be fingerprinted or be properly trained to possess a handgun, as long as they meet certain criteria.
For instance, anyone who is technically deemed prohibited from possessing a firearm due to any state and/or federal laws, will not be legally authorized to carry a handgun. But how will anyone, whether law enforcement or regular Texans, know who fits the criteria and who doesn’t?
This is where the concern lies about this new law that is upon us.
With the tremendous uptick in violent crime and aggravated assaults across the nation, allowing more access to handguns without being able to properly verify is troublesome. In addition to the bad apples that are out committing crimes, the narratives that are often used by many members of law enforcement relative to people of color has many minorities in Texas worried.
Blacks who may openly carry a handgun, as allowed now by this new law, could run the risk of being identified as a criminal by law enforcement officials by simply following the new law.
Many members of law enforcement testified against this bill in Austin before it was passed and signed into law, expressing their concerns that the legislation would not only endanger officers, but would allow criminals to gain greater access to guns to commit more crimes.
Let us hope and pray that this new law does not do more harm than good in Texas.
Another hotly contested bill that will go into effect Sept. 1 involves a newly argued topic called “Critical Race Theory.”
In a nutshell, Critical Race Theory (HB 3979), which is an academic framework used to examine the structural causes of racial inequality, will not be allowed to be taught to K-12 students in any public school in the state of Texas.
The new law will severely stifle a teacher’s ability to discuss current events or controversial issues surrounding public policy or societal issues. The new law also places a heavy emphasis on preventing teachers from teaching about systemic racism in class, teaching about the “1619 Project” or receiving extra class credit for participating in civic engagement, political activism or lobbying elected officials on public policy issues.
As a directive, HB 3979 does demand that teachers teach students about the founding documents of the United States, such as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. According to the details of the new law, students will be required to be taught about the history of white supremacy, the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the morally wrong ways and actions of the Ku Klux Klan.
One other eye-opening new law taking effect on Sept. 1 involves the new penalties for soliciting a prostitute in Texas.
According to the details in HB 2795, which was authored by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), anyone who is caught in the act of the solicitation of a prostitute will be subject to a felony conviction that will be punishable by up to two years in jail.
Texas will be the first state in the U.S. to have a law in place to make solicitation of prostitution a felony offense.
Here are several other new laws you might be interested in:
- HB 929 now requires any law enforcement official to keep their body cameras on during the entirety of any active investigations.
- SB 69 prohibits law enforcement officials from using chokeholds or excessive force during arrests unless necessary to prevent officer or bystander injury, and any officers who witness these violations are required to report the incident.
- HB 1900 financially punishes municipalities like Houston and others, with a population of more than 250,000, if they ever decide to reduce their police budget, and allows the state of Texas to reduce their sales tax revenues and prevent increases in property taxes.
- HB 1518 allows Texans to buy wine and beer in stores at 10 a.m., instead of 12 noon on Sundays under the current law.
- Senate Bill 8 bans abortions after an ultrasound can detect a fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
- HB 1280 outlaws abortion in the state of Texas effectively 30 days after any potential U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturns the longstanding Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling.
- HB 1535 allows individuals with conditions such as epilepsy and autism to access medical marijuana, and individuals with any form of cancer or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will be able to use low-THC cannabis for medical purposes.
- HB 19 now requires any driver of a commercial vehicle, including individuals who drive delivery trucks or for Uber and Lyft, to be found liable in court for causing a car crash that results in injury or death before a case can be brought against their employer.
- SB 224 allows eligible individuals to bypass enrollment interviews and have a shortened application process, and simplifies access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for seniors and disabled people on fixed incomes.
There are so many other new laws you should familiarize yourself with that go into effect Sept. 1 and you don’t want to be one of those individuals who says you didn’t know. As the saying goes: Ignorance is no excuse for the law.
Stay woke, Texans!