Starting Wednesday, adult Texans legally can strap on a gun and carry out a margarita or Long Island tea from a bar. And if they’ve been traumatized, they can qualify for medical marijuana.
The Texas Legislature met this year (and is still having special sessions) with September 1 the day when new laws go into effect.
The ‘Constitutional Carry’ law allows people age 21 and older, to carry open or concealed handguns without a license or the training hours previously required under licensing. Only people legally prohibited from carrying firearms, like convicted felons, are exempt.
State law has long allowed long-guns like rifles, shotguns, and AK 47s to be carried in public without a license.
Governor Greg Abbott last year allowed restaurants and bars to sell drinks-to-go to help the businesses make up income during the pandemic closings. The legislature made the decision permanent with the new bill.
In addition, sales for beer and wine will have extended hours on Sundays. Previously, beer and wine sales were prohibited before noon on Sundays and they can now be sold beginning at 10 a.m. Liquor still cannot be sold on Sundays.
The state is expanding the use of medical marijuana to include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Also, the legal dosage in medical marijuana by doctor prescription is increasing from 0.5 percent THC to 1 percent THC.
Another new law prohibits Texas businesses to require proof of vaccinations.
Law enforcement will have a new tool to help stop street racing, a problem in some cities that has led to crashes, injuries, and death. Prosecutors will be able to file forfeiture papers and seize vehicles that have been used in street racing under certain circumstances. Those are being a repeat offender, driving under the influence, has an open container of alcohol, or causes an injury.
The “Star Spangled Banner Bill” requires all professional sports teams in Texas to begin games with the national anthem.
Abortion restrictions are added with the “heartbeat bill” which will prohibit abortions as soon as six weeks after conception. There are no exemptions for victims of incest or rape. The bill also allows a citizen to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider who they believe has broken the law.
Written by Margaret Toal, KOGT