House Bill 1518 passed the Texas Legislature this spring and took effect Sept. 1, KWTX reports. The new law tweaks the Alcoholic Beverage Code. It had required stores to sell beer and wine only after noon on Sundays.
The change does not apply to hard liquor, which still cannot be sold on Sundays. Moreover, liquor stores still have to close on Sundays. Texas also bars liquor sales on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, and before 10 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on other days.
On weekdays, Texas stores are allowed to sell beer and wine from 7 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. on Saturday until 1 a.m. on Sunday.
Texans Can Get Around Limitations By Checking into a Hotel
The new law has a loophole: Texas hotel bars can sell alcohol to registered guests at any time of day. That’s one way to encourage tourism.
Texas’s alcohol prohibitions, known as Blue Laws, hark back to 1935. Following the repeal of Prohibition came the Texas Liquor Control Act, which constricted alcohol sales across the state.
Texas legislators also recently passed into law a bipartisan bill legalizing alcohol to go sales in the state. Texas had started allowing alcohol to go sales temporarily when the pandemic hit last year.
666 Texas Laws Take Effect Sept. 1
Besides HB 1518, 665 other new laws for Texans take effect starting Sept. 1. Among them is an open carry law that allows residents 21 and older to openly carry guns in public without taking a training class or getting a permit, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Another is the fetal heartbeat bill that the Supreme Court recently declined to issue an injunction against. Texas’s new law bans abortions at six weeks or as soon as a heartbeat is detected, and it also incentivizes private citizens to sue people who help pregnant women get abortions. Anti-abortion groups have already set up websites to report doctors, according to the Chronicle.
Another bill passed by the Legislature makes it a felony for protesters to block roads or freeways, stop emergency vehicles form passing or block hospital entrances. That is now punishable by a two-year prison term.
At the same time, police officers in Texas are now required to keep their body cameras on during active investigations.
Finally, another controversial Texas law, Senate Bill 1, which triggered a walkout by Democratic lawmakers and a months-long standoff, will eliminate drive-through and 24-hour voting for Texans and limit early voting hours. That law takes effect before the 2022 primary elections.