15 Other Laws Texas Passed at Same Time As Abortion Ban You Might Have Missed

A restrictive new abortion law came into effect in Texas on September 1 after the U.S. Supreme Court failed to respond to an application for an emergency stay, but it wasn't the only new law to kick on Wednesday.

A total of 666 new laws took effect in the Lone Star State on September 1, covering issues ranging from homeless camps to open carry of firearms and the sale of beer and wine.

While the Supreme Court's decision on Wednesday not to grant a stay of Senate Bill (SB) 8 has dominated headlines, here is a list of 15 other noteworthy new laws in the state.

1. Voting restrictions

The controversial new voting known as Senate Bill (SB) 1 is now in effect in Texas. It eliminates drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting in the state as well as imposing new requirements for absentee ballots. Many Democrats in the state legislature staged a walkout and fled Texas for Washington, D.C. in an unsuccessful effort to prevent its passage.

2. Open carry

Texas will now allow residents aged 21-years-old and above to openly carry a gun in public without the need for training classes or a permit. Those with a criminal record will not be able to avail of the law, however.

3. Critical race theory

Discussions of critical race theory are now banned in Texas' classrooms. The state's teachers may not discuss the idea that some people are "inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."

4. Homeless camps

It is now a misdemeanor in the state of Texas to camp in an unapproved public place and doing so may be subject to a fine of $500. The law takes aim at homeless camps throughout the state.

5. Felony charges for protesters

Texas has raised the offense of protesters blocking roads and freeways from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. This includes blocking hospital entrances and preventing the passage of emergency vehicles. The penalty is up to two years in prison.

6. National anthem required

The state's professional sports teams are now legally required to play the national anthem at games or risk losing millions in state and local tax subsidies if they don't. The teams will not be able to take into account the views of their players about the anthem.

7. A preemptive abortion ban

In the event that the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will be made completely illegal in Texas under a "trigger law." The ban would take effect 30 days after the court's ruling.

8. Buying sex is a felony

Texas has become the first state in the nation to make the act of buying sex from an adult a felony. A person found guilty could face up to two years in prison for the first offense. The law also expands felony charges against sex traffickers who recruit minors at treatment centers and youth centers.

9. Vaccine passports ban

Businesses are not permitted to require their patrons to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status as part of a ban on so-called "vaccine passports." Any business that violates the law could lose its license, operating permits or even state contracts.

10. Mandatory police body cams

Police in Texas are now required to wear body cameras and keep them on during active investigations.

11. Medical marijuana program expanded

Texas has expanded its medical marijuana program to include patients with cancer at all stages, those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those taking part in research.

12. Changes to the state power grid

Following a major power outage in Texas during severe winter weather in February, the state now requires energy companies to pay to weatherize their own facilities—a matter that became a serious issue this year. An emergency alert system will also be created to inform state residents when there is a power outage. Moreover, politicians will now appoint a majority of the board of ERCOT, which manages the grid.

13. Tackling street racing

A new law allows vehicles to be seized throughout cities in the state if they've been involved in street racing. The vehicles will potentially be forfeit if the racer is a repeat offender, was driving under the influence or had an open container of alcohol or caused death or injury.

14. More hours to buy beer

Texas residents will now have more hours in which to buy beer. In an update to the state's so-called Blue Law, Texans will now be able to buy beer and wine on Sundays from 10 a.m. Previously, beer and wine could only be bought from 12 p.m. on Sunday. However, a ban on liquor sales in stores on Sundays remains in place.

15. Alcohol-to-go gets go-ahead

In a similar vein, alcohol-to-go will now be permanently legal in Texas following its popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new law permits deliveries and pick-up food orders to include beer, wine and cocktails.

A Texas Flag Blows in Hurricane Harvey
Wind from Hurricane Harvey batters a Texas flag on August 26, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Texas brought 666 new laws into effect on September 1, including a restrictive abortion ban. Scott Olson/Getty Images

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