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A Slew of New Texas Laws Take Effect on Friday, Sept. 1

State legislators have passed more than 700 new laws and a variety of notable or controversial laws will take effect this week, including policies surrounding transgender athletes, chaplains in schools and a tampon tax.

A flurry of new laws will go into effect Sept. 1 in Texas.

State legislators passed more than 700 new laws, from a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth to taxes on electric vehicles. Here’s a look at some of the most notable laws.

LGBTQ Issues

Transgender health care ban: Texas will ban gender-affirming care, including medication and surgery, for minors. As part of Senate Bill 14, the state will revoke medical licenses of doctors who provide treatments like puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgery to patients under the age of 18 “to transition a child’s biological sex.” Families have sued the state to block implementation of the law, arguing that it is unconstitutional.

Drag shows, sexually explicit performances: A new law criminalizes performers and businesses that host sexually explicit shows performed in front of children. While Senate Bill 12 is intended to target drag shows, opponents have argued it could also criminalize ballet and cheerleading. Violators could face up to a year in jail, and businesses hosting performances deemed illegal could be fined $10,000 for each violation.

Restricting transgender athletes: The so-called Save Women’s Sports Act prohibits collegiate transgender athletes from competing on college teams that match their gender identity. Athletes are required to compete on teams based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate.

Local Government

Death star: This new Texas law overrides city and county ordinances that go further than state law. For example, many cities will no longer be allowed to require employers give water breaks to outdoor workers. A handful of cities, including Houston and San Antonio, are suing to block House Bill 2127. Opponents nicknamed the law “Death Star” due to the wide range of local regulations it could affect. A Travis County state judge ruled the "nebulous" bill unconstitutional on Wednesday, Aug. 30, but the bill still went into effect as scheduled. Updated on Sept. 4, 2023.

Ban on Covid mandates: Senate Bill 29 bars local governments from issuing Covid-related mandates related to masks, vaccines and business shutdowns.

HOA discrimination: A new law will prohibit HOAs from discriminating against tenants based on their method of payment, such as Section 8 housing vouchers. The law came in response to Providence Village Homeowners Association in Denton County, which tried to bar landlords from renting to people who paid with government housing vouchers.

Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice

Fentanyl: Prosecutors will now be able to pursue murder charges against people who illegally manufacture or distribute fentanyl, leading to someone’s death. The new law is one of a handful aimed at combating the growing fentanyl crisis.

Street takeovers: The state will try to curb illegal street racing and takeovers. A pair of House bills provides additional ways to prosecute illegal street racing and takeovers and allows law enforcement to impound vehicles of people who have been arrested for reckless driving exhibition or racing on the highway.

Progressive prosecutors: It is now easier to remove district attorneys who refuse to pursue cases involving certain state laws. The new law is in part a response to various district attorneys across Texas saying they would not prosecute controversial offenses related to abortion, elections and gender-affirming care for minors.


Book bans: Under this new law, booksellers and vendors will be required to assign ratings books with sexual content before selling them to school districts. Books deemed “sexually explicit” cannot be sold to school districts. Schools would also be required to get parental consent before a child could access “sexually relevant material” in the library. Booksellers have sued to block the law, arguing that a “sexually relevant” rating could extend to health books, historical works, encyclopedias, dictionaries and religious texts.

Armed guards at schools: One new state law requires armed personnel at all schools. The change represents legislators’ most significant response to the Uvalde massacre, where 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary in 2022. But Dallas ISD and other districts say they do not have enough funding or workforce to meet the mandate.

Diversity, equity and inclusion ban: Senate Bill 17 dismantles diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, offices, training and programs at public colleges and universities. This bill goes into effect January 2024, but several universities have already begun complying with the law.

Chaplains in school: A new law would allow school districts to place unlicensed religious chaplains in schools. Volunteer chaplains would provide support, services and programs for students, according to the law. Districts must vote whether to implement the chaplain program within the next six months.

Driving and Roads

New tax: Owners of electric vehicles must pay $400 to register a new electric vehicle on top of other fees, as well as $200 a year to renew registration. Owners of hybrids and gas-fueled vehicles do not pay such fees, but they do pay a 20-cent per gallon gas tax.

Changing speed limits: Under this new bill, the Texas Department of Transportation can temporarily change speed limits on portions of roads and highways due to construction or inclement weather. This comes in response to the deadly 133-vehicle pileup on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth in 2021.

Temporary license plates: Car dealerships will now keep metal license plates to give to people who buy vehicles, eliminating the need for temporary paper plates. The new law aims to curtail widespread issues with fraudulent tags, which are made with false names, VIN numbers and addresses and can be difficult for police to trace.

Other Notable Laws

Tampon tax: Texas has repealed the state sales tax on period products, diapers, baby wipes and other feminine hygiene and baby products.

Hair discrimination: Discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle associated with race is now illegal. The new law is in response to high-profile incidents involving two Black high school students in the U.S. who were forced to cut off their dreadlocks or face consequences.

Medicaid for new mothers: Low-income mothers in Texas will receive a full year of health insurance after they’ve given birth under a new law that extends Medicaid benefits.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to reflect that the "Death Star" bill was ruled unconstitutional by a Travis County state judge but ultimately went into effect as scheduled on Sept. 1.
©2023 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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