How to Find New Texas Laws in Effect September 1st
August 31, 2021
New laws often take effect on September 1st after a legislative session ends. This year 666 bills were passed during the 87th Regular Session that go into effect on the 1st of September. Here's a quick primer on how to find these new Texas laws and a look at several new laws that have been in the news lately.
Finding New Legislation
Some bills go into effect immediately, while some may not be effective for several months or even years. The Legislative Reference Library (LRL) is an excellent resource for tracking new legislation, and they've made it incredibly easy to see when bills passed during a particular legislative session will go into effect with the session's corresponding Effective Dates for Bills page. Bills are linked and listed by effective date in chronological order, starting with any immediately effective legislation. Each bill has a quick blurb that discusses the bill's contents.
Some dates have hundreds of bills go into effect, so bills on these dates are listed on a separate page for brevity's sake. One thing to note is that it's not uncommon for a bill to have sections that go into effect on different dates, so some bills may be listed several times with notes on which specific sections will go into effect on that date. When looking at a bill's page, be sure to read the "Enrolled" version of the text of the bill as it is the final version of the bill.
Texas Legislature Online's General Reports page also includes links to lists of bills organized by their effective date. Their Bills Effective September 1st list is linked on the LRL's page, discussed in the above paragraph. You can also use TLO's Bill Search feature to search for bills by author, subject, committee, and action. To find bills that passed, be sure to select "sent to the Governor" under "Actions" to generate a list. Keep in mind that this will also include vetoed bills, so be sure to check the bill's status when running a search. Check out LRL's page of bills vetoed by Governor Abbott during the 87th session.
Another very basic option for locating new legislation that affects a particular subject is to pull up the list of bills effective on a specific date and use Ctrl+F or F3 keys to search for keywords related to your subject. Users on a mobile phone may want to use their browser's Find in Page feature. For example, to find all the new bills effective in September that affect Texas gun laws, you might search for "firearm", "handgun", "weapon", etc. to compile a list.
You can also use LRL's Index to Sections Affected tool to find any bills that amends, adds, or repeals a section of the Texas codes. Please note that there does not appear to be a way to filter this tool by effective date, so you will need to check the text of the enrolled version for the date the bill will go into effect.
Other Resources for New Legislation
If you're interested in a subject-specific treatment of new legislation, you may want to check out our Legislative Recaps collection. Many professional organizations, government agencies, media outlets, and advocacy groups publish a recap of newly passed legislation in the months following a session's conclusion. The recaps are a good way to keep up with the variety of new laws that affect Texans and can be helpful for narrowing the scope to a particular subject.
Additionally, lots of state and local news outlets tend to publish articles examining some of the new laws a few days before the bills go into effect. Keep an eye out for these articles around the beginning of September.
New September Laws
Below are a selection of bills that the library has received questions about or that have gotten extensive media coverage. Be sure to review the bill analysis as it's a great summary of the bill's effects - you can usually find it on the "Text" page for the bill listed under Additional Documents.
One of the most high-profile bills to come out of the 87th session, HB 1927 is often referred to as the "constitutional carry" bill. This bill removes the requirement for a license to carry (LTC) in order to carry a handgun for those who qualify for firearm possession (must be at least 21 years of age and not otherwise prohibited from carrying a firearm under both Texas and federal laws).
This bill does not extend the right to carry a firearm for anyone who was already barred from possessing a firearm under state and federal law. Laws regarding firearms can be complex, and our library is not able to determine whether you can legally possess a firearm. We urge you to speak with an attorney if you aren't sure if you are prohibited from carrying a firearm.
SB 8 prohibits a physician from performing an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, with exceptions for medical emergencies. This bill also limits public enforcement of any violations of this law and instead allows private citizens to bring a lawsuit against any person who either performs an abortion in violation of the law or helps assist with an abortion that takes place after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Texas's Compassionate Use Program allows certain patients access to low-THC cannabis for medical purposes. HB 1535 expands this program to patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and any form of cancer. Find more information about the Compassionate Use program on the corresponding page of our Cannabis and the Law guide.
Sometimes referred to as the "critical race theory bill", HB 3979 requires certain aspects of U.S. history and government to be taught in social studies curriculum in Texas public schools and limits perspectives on race and gender for required courses or training.
HB 1900 reduces the sales tax revenues and prevents an increase in property taxes for municipalities with more than 250,000 people that reduce their police budget.
HB 1925 makes illegally camping in public places a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500. This bill also prohibits local governments from discouraging camping ban enforcements.
Need help finding a particular bill, or want to know when a new bill goes into effect? Shoot us an e-mail or call us with our Ask a Librarian program!