New laws range from saving Chick-fil-A to reforming school finance: Here are the highlights from the governor’s desk

Victoria May

After the Texas Legislature’s 86th session ended May 27, Gov. Greg Abbott had until midnight Sunday to decide which bills remaining on his desk would become law. By the end of the session, lawmakers sent 1,429 bills to Abbott’s desk — 1,323 of which became law. 

From the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill to a bill banning red light cameras, here are some of the measures that became law. 

Senate Bill 1978, filed by state Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, prohibits cities and counties from discriminating against businesses or individuals on the basis of religious donations or membership. The bill gained attention after the San Antonio City Council prevented a Chick-fil-A restaurant from opening in the city’s airport, citing the company’s anti-LGBTQ record.

Senate Bill 22, filed by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, makes it illegal for Texas governments to partner with abortion providers or their affiliates — including those that provide services such as sexual health education and primary care. It also cuts local Planned Parenthood funding.

Senate Bill 21, filed by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. However, military personnel are exempted from the
age raise.

House Bill 1631, filed by state Rep. John Stickland, R-Bedford, bans the use of red light cameras in Texas. Cities throughout the state have begun to shut off their red light cameras.


House Bill 3703, filed by state Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, makes it expand the medical conditions for doctors to prescribe medical marijuana with up to 0.5% THC from a state-licensed dispensary. While the program previously only included patients with intractable epilepsy, people with other medical seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, autism and ALS are now eligible for prescriptions.

House Bill 1177, filed by state Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, allows unlicensed gun owners to carry firearms in public for up to one week after a state of disaster has been declared.

House Bill 218, filed by state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, will prevent pharmacists, cosmetologists and other professionals from losing their licenses if they default on student loans.