2021 Texas State Legislature Updates

There were over 600 new laws and law updates that went into effect on September 1, 2021, following the 2021 Texas Legislature Session. Some will go into effect later when they are officially signed (one goes into effected on January 1, 2022). This page is not meant to take the place of legal counsel or advice and more information on all of these laws and updates by visiting one of the following sites: https://capitol.texas.gov OR https://legiscan.com/TX.  This page is NOT intended to take that place of legal counsel or taking the place of a lawyer. 

Texas’ 2022-2023 budget: SB 1 provides nearly $250 billion for Texas, with notable funds going toward public higher education. Abbott line-item vetoed the part of the budget that funds the Texas Legislature and the people who staff it — but lawmakers may restore funding during this summer’s second special session.

Permitless carry: House Bill 1927 allows Texans ages 21 and older to carry handguns without training or a license as long as they are not legally prevented from doing so.

Abortion restrictions: SB 8 prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. In lieu of government enforcement, private individuals can sue abortion providers or people who assist abortion after an ultrasound can detect what lawmakers defined as a fetal heartbeat. Embryos at this developmental stage don’t possess a heart. Medical and legal experts say the sound Republican lawmakers are referring to is the motion of electrical pulses stimulating muscle cells in a tube that will eventually become part of the heart. Abortion providers are suing to block the law. Additionally, HB 1280 would outlaw abortion in Texas 30 days after any potential U.S. Supreme Court decision overturns Roe v. Wade.

“Star Spangled Banner Protection Act”: Professional sports teams with state funding are required to play the national anthem before games under SB 4.

Reducing pre-K class sizes: Prekindergarten classes are now capped at 22 students — the same maximum class size of other elementary school grades — under SB 2081.

Active shooter alert system: HB 103 creates the Texas Active Shooter Alert System, which will notify Texans in the vicinity of an active shooting scene through their phones. The system can be activated by request of local law enforcement.

Felony punishment for blocking emergency vehicles: HB 9 will make blocking access to a hospital or an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens on a state jail felony. The bill was passed as a response to protesters being arrested for blocking ambulances during Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

Criminalizing homeless camping: HB 1925 makes camping in unapproved public places a misdemeanor or crime that carries a fine of up to $500. Cities cannot opt out of the ban.

Relating to ISD taxes on elderly and disabled: SB12 Relating to the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed by a school district on the residence homestead of an individual who is elderly or disabled to reflect any reduction from the preceding tax year in the district's maximum compressed rate and to the protection of school districts against the resulting loss in local revenue.

Officers collecting fines and fees: SB1373 provides that: (1) any officer authorized to collect a fine, reimbursement or other fee, or item of cost may request the trial court in which a criminal action or proceeding was held to make a finding that a fine, reimbursement or other fee, or item of cost imposed in the action or proceeding is uncollectible if the officer believes: (a) the defendant is deceased; (b) the defendant is serving a sentence for imprisonment for life or life without parole; (c) the fine, reimbursement or other fee, or item of cost has been unpaid for at least 15 years; or (d) the fine, reimbursement or other fee, or item of cost is otherwise uncollectible; and (2) a court may order the officer described in (1), above, to designate a fine, reimbursement or other fee, or item of cost as uncollectible in the fee record. (Effective September 1, 2021.) 

Virtual and Off-campus instruction at public schools: SB15 Relating to virtual and off-campus electronic instruction at a public school, the satisfaction of teacher certification requirements through an internship teaching certain virtual courses, and the allotment for certain special-purpose school districts under the Foundation School Program. 

Congratulating Weatherford Firefighter Dakota Stroud on his Medal of Valor and Citation Bar: HR 113 Congratulating Dakota Stroud of the Weatherford Fire Department on his receipt of a Medal of Valor and Citation Bar. 

Censorship on social media: HB20 goes into effect on December 2, 2021. It is relating to censorship of or certain other interference with digital expression, including expression on social media platforms or through electronic mail messages.