Hundreds of protesters march down a street in Texas

Permitless Gun Carry, Anti-Anti Racism, & The Most Extreme Abortion Ban in the Country: Just Some of the Horrible Laws That Took Effect in Texas Yesterday

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Yesterday was largely dominated by the horrific new anti-abortion bill that went into effect in Texas but that’s not the state’s only new terrible law. In fact, there are a full (and suspiciously numbered) 666 new laws in Texas as of yesterday, September 1st. Here are some of the worst:

Permitless Carry

Texans 21 and older no longer need a permit to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, so long as they’re not otherwise prohibited to do so by another law. Previously, Texans needed a license to carry a gun, which required a background check, training, and a proficiency exam. According to KSAT, “Police unions from most major Texas cities and several handgun instructors opposed the law when it was introduced.”

Anti-anti-racism

Social studies curricula can no longer include discussions about systemic racism, making it pretty hard to teach about major parts of the country’s history like slavery and segregation. The bill also forbids educators from giving assignments, including extra credit, involving civic participation like letter writing or political or social advocacy internships.

The 1836 Project

Republicans really hate the New York Times’  “1619 Project,” which aims to reframe the history of the United States around the first slave ships to hit the colonies. Texas Republicans hate it so much that they introduced the 1836 Project as their own petty vengeance for being asked to examine the country’s history of racism. This bill centers on the year Texas gained its independence from Mexico but critics are understandably worried that this “patriotic education” will gloss over, if not entirely erase, elements of racism from the state’s history.

“One controversial aspect of the 1836 Project is its name,” writes the Texas Tribune. “Some critics have pointed out that Texas’ independence didn’t apply to all of those living in the state at the time, such as slaves and indigenous groups. The Constitution of the Republic of Texas, passed in 1836, legalized slavery and excluded indigenous groups from gaining independence.”

“Star Spangled Banner Protection Act”

Yup, another law mandating “patriotism.” This law requires pro sports teams to play the national anthem before games or lose their state funding.

Criminalized homeless encampments

It is now a misdemeanor for unhoused people to camp in unapproved public places, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Cities and counties cannot opt out of the ban, as Austin previously had.

Abortion is essentially illegal

Of course, the biggest news out of Texas is the ban on abortion after six weeks.

As a reminder, that timeframe doesn’t start at conception, or when a person finds out they’re pregnant, but at the first day of their last period. Six weeks is long before most people even know they’re pregnant.

In addition, this draconian law puts the authority to enforce the ban in the hands of everyday citizens, allowing people to file lawsuits against anyone who performs, receives, or aids the process of an abortion and even going so far as to offer $10,000 rewards (basically bounties) for anyone who wins their suit.

(via Texas Tribune, image: Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.