Common Law: Mark of the Beast or just another Texas legislative session? New Texas Laws 2021 – Chronicles
666 new Texas laws were passed in the 87th Legislative Session. Yes – 666, leaving some to wonder if they could not have let go of one? Apparently not. Most of the new laws came into effect on September 1. Check out some of these new (and sometimes obscure) laws and see if they’ll have an impact on your life.
Dogs in court: House Bill 1071 permits the presence of qualified installation dogs and / or qualified therapy dogs in legal proceedings. This bill echoes the Courthouse Dogs Act passed by the US Senate in 2019. These laws aim to help stressed witnesses feel able to share their stories.
Buy your alcohol on Sunday morning: Were you refused to buy beer or alcohol on a Sunday morning? For those who find this inconvenience annoying, you have been bailed out. HB 1518 updates Texas blue law by allowing grocery stores, convenience stores, and hotels to extend their alcohol sales hours. People can now buy beer and wine from 10:00 a.m. instead of 12:00 p.m. on Sundays.
National Anthem and Texas Pro Sports: Senate Bill 4 requires that the national anthem be played by professional sports teams that contract with the state.
Do not block an emergency vehicle: Anyone who blocks the passage of an emergency vehicle may be liable to a criminal sanction, which may be an offense or a felony depending on the specific circumstances (HB 9).
No more police strangles: Police officers are now prohibited from using a choke (or similar neck strap) unless it is necessary to avoid injuring the officer. Police officers also have a duty to intervene to prevent another officer from using excessive force (SB 69).
Homeless camping incurs criminal penalties: The city’s policies towards the homeless population have been the subject of massive debate in Austin in recent years. Under Law HB 1925, state law now prohibits homeless camping in public places. Those who break the law could be subject to a Class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $ 500.
Don’t cut your pecan trees: Just as Texas loves its blue hats (enough to criminalize their picking), it loves its pecans too. House Bill 3289 establishes a civil penalty for violating plant quarantine on pecans. This law further amended the 2001 Pecan Amendment to Section 71.012 of the Texas Agriculture Code which prohibited the slaughter of pecans.
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Marrs, Ellis & Hodge LLP, www.jmehlaw.com.
The material in this column is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute or replace legal advice. For advice on your specific facts and circumstances, consult a licensed lawyer. You can contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas, a nonprofit public service of the Austin Bar Association, at 512-472-8303 or www.austinlrs.com.