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New Texas Laws Katyites Need to Know

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

September 1, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark


September is here and so are 666 new Texas laws most that go into effect today, including the right to carry without a permit. Laws range from heath care, education, public safety and more.


September 1st marks a new month and an abundance of new Texas laws that affect Katyites. These laws were debated, passed, and signed by Governor Abbott during the 87th Texas Legislature.


Here are the biggest changes that Katy residents need to know.


Bond Reform

Last night, during the special session, SB 6 Felony Bond Reform passed the Texas Senate and is now awaiting the signature from Gov. Abbott. Katy’s Andy Kahan, Director of Victims Services and Advocacy for Crime Stoppers Houston has been extremely vocal in voicing his (and the victims’) concerns over the current bond crisis.


“On behalf of the over 130 known citizens of Harris County murdered by defendants released on multiple felony bonds et al, may your death be not in vain. Your lives mattered,” says Andy Kahan.


Kahan sent a thanks out to Sen. Joan Huffman, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, Sen. John Whitmire, District Attorney Kim Ogg and Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious. He also thanked Gov. Abbott for making bond reform a priority in the special session.


“Hopefully today is the beginning of the end of the revolving door at the Courthouse.”


Constitutional Carry

HB 1927 or commonly referred to as “Connotational Carry” allows residents to carry a handgun without a permit. The only requirements are that the individual is 21 years or older and cannot have a felony or conviction for domestic violence.


The Department of Public Safety will offer a free online gun safety course, but it is not mandatory to carry a gun.


Fort Bend Constable Chad Norvell is not worried about the new law.


“Many said Texas would be the wild west in 1996 when the Concealed Handgun License was passed and that didn’t happen,” says Constable Norvell. “As a 28-year law enforcement officer and former Marine, I absolutely recommend training for anyone desiring to carry a weapon.”


Constable Norvell also stresses that residents need to understand the law. It is still illegal to carry a weapon in schools, hospitals, and other public or private places that prohibit guns on the property.


Abortion Restrictions

SB 8 prohibits an abortion as early as 6 weeks into a pregnancy, or once a fetal heartbeat is detected. It also allows private individuals to sue abortion providers or people who assist in an abortion after an ultrasound can detect a fetal heartbeat.


This is one of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S. and the Texas Supreme Court hasn’t made any move to block it.


Medical Marijuana

HB 1535 will now allow anyone with any form of cancer or post-traumatic stress disorder to use low-THC cannabis for medical purposes. This is an expansion to the Texas Compassionate Use Program, that allows people with conditions such as epilepsy and autism to use medical marijuana.


Shortened SNAP Application

SB 224 allows seniors and disabled individuals on a fixed income a shortened application process for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP.)


To speed up the process, people can forgo enrollment interviews that will result in a quicker application and access to support.



Reduced Pre-K Class Size

HB 2081 will cap Texas Pre-K sizes at 22, the State cap for all elementary classes.


Blocking Emergency Vehicles is a Felony

HB 9 makes it a felony to block access to a hospital or an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens on.


1836 Project

HB 2497 creates an “1836 Project” committee that will produce Texas History materials. These materials will be distributed through channels such as when Texans receive their driver’s license.


Social Studies Curriculum

HB 3979 limits social studies teachers from discussion current events and anything related to systemic racism in class. It also prevents students from earning class credit for participating in or attending civic engagement.


Active Shooter Alert System

HB 103 will create the Texas Active Shooter Alert System. In addition to Amber Alerts and other public alerts that are sent through your cell phone, Texas will now be able to alert residents of an active shooting scene. Local law enforcement will activate the system when it applies to an area.

Police Body Camera and Banning Chokeholds

HB 929 will require police officers to keep body camera on during an entire active investigation.

Police officers are also prohibited from using chokeholds or any excessive force while making an arrest under SB 69. Any officer who witnesses violations is required to report it.


These are just some of the biggest new laws in Texas. Learn about the rest here.


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