The 2021 Texas Legislature session’s big bills that passed and failed

Texas capitol – Pixabay stock photos

 

By CARLA ASTUDILLO

and Texas Tribune staff

 

The 2021 session of the Texas Legislature ended with some GOP priority bills failing. On Sunday night, Texas Democrats walked out of the House before midnight, blocking passage of a bill that would create new voting restrictions. The walkout also killed a bill that would make changes to the bail system.

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that both items – which he had declared emergency items – would be added to the agenda for a special legislative session. Before the events of Sunday night, some Texas Republicans were declaring this session the most conservative in the state’s recent history after they passed bills allowing permitless carry of handguns and restricting abortion. While Democrats successfully blocked bills aimed at transgender children, an attempt to block a ban on teaching critical race theory in schools was thwarted when the bill was revived in the Senate.

The session ended May 31, so time has run out for proposed bills.

 

Status of 17 bills:

 

Signed into law

  • SB 8: Fetal “heartbeat” bill. This bill doesn’t specify a time frame but would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which proponents say can be as early as six weeks. The measure would be enforced by private citizens empowered to sue abortion providers and others who help someone get an abortion after six weeks, for example, by driving them to an abortion clinic.

 

Sent to Abbott

  • HB 1927: Permitless carry of handguns Bill. This measure, which has failed in past sessions, would allow people to carry handguns in Texas without a concealed handgun license.
  • SB 1: State budget Bill. The one must-pass piece of legislation this session, Senate Bill 1 is the state budget for the 2022-23 biennium. Lawmakers entered the session expecting to make major cuts, but financial forecasts have improved in recent months.
  • SB 3: Winter storm response. It is the upper chamber’s sweeping legislation stemming from February’s deadly winter storm. The legislation would create a statewide emergency system to alert Texans if power outages are expected and require power generation companies to better prepare their facilities to withstand extreme weather.
  • HB 3979: Critical race theory in schools. Bans the teaching of critical race theory in Texas schools and limit what public school students can be taught about the United States’ history of subjugating people of color.
  • SB 4: National anthem bill. Conservative-backed bill that would require any professional sports teams with contracts with the state government to play the national anthem before the start of a game.
  • HB 5: Broadband expansion. This measure would aim to incentivize the expansion of broadband internet access to areas across the state through the creation of the State Broadband Development Office, which would award grants, low-­interest loans and other incentives to build out broadband access.
  • HB 1280: Ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Bans abortion in Texas if Roe v. Wade were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • HB 1239: Protecting churches from closure during disasters. Bans public officials from closing churches or other places of worship during a disaster declaration.

 

Vetoed or Failed

  • SB 7: Voting restrictions.
  • SB 29: Transgender students and school sports.
  • SB 1311: Revoke physician’s medical licenses for providing gender-affirming medical care.
  • SB 10: Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  • SB 12: Social media expression bill.
  • SB 1529: Statewide appeals court.
  • HB 20: Changes to bail.
  • HB 3: Governor’s pandemic powers.

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