New year, new laws.
A collection of bills passed by the Texas legislature earlier this year became law starting on Saturday, Jan. 1.
Lawmakers approved 23 bills during the regular legislative session in May. These new laws will join hundreds of other new measures, sections of bills that have already taken effect this year.
Here's a breakdown of the new laws taking effect in the new year:
- Third-party delivery app regulations: Senate Bill 911 puts more regulations on third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats or Grubhub. Several parts of it support restaurants in different ways but a big part prohibits apps from charging a restaurant a fee or requiring the restaurant to absorb a fee unless previously agreed upon with the business in a written agreement.
- Flooding disclosure for renters: House Bill 531 requires landlords to tell prospective tenants if their property is located in a 100-year floodplain. They’re also required to let renters know if there was flooding damage on the property in the last five years. Previously, this state law only applied to those who were buying property so the update is good news for renters.
- Voter approval for law enforcement funding: Senate Bill 23 requires voter approval before a county can reduce law enforcement funding, a response to demands in the past year to “defund the police.” This law only applies to counties with more than 1 million residents, so it will apply to Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties.
- Long-term care advocacy: House Bill 3961 requires long-term care facilities to post information on their websites about a state organization that advocates for the rights of residents, Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office – which is part of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. This new law addresses the issues that arose when long-term care residents were isolated from loved ones for months in the early days of the pandemic.
- Tax exemptions for disabled veterans: Senate Bill 794 exempts homestead taxes for veterans who are considered totally disabled by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Tax exemptions for charitable organizations: House Bill 115 exempts taxes from certain property owned by charitable organizations if it’s used to provide housing and related services to homeless individuals.
- Property tax exemptions for religious organizations: House Bill 1197 relates “to the period for which certain land owned by a religious organization for the purpose of expanding a place of religious worship or constructing a new place of religious worship may be exempted from ad valorem taxation.” Religious organizations now have more time to stay exempt from paying taxes on a specific property, updated from six years to 10 years.
- Historic structures: House Bill 3777 relates “to eligible costs and expenses for purposes of the franchise tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures.”
- Historic district property value: House Bill 3971 relates “to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of residential real property located in a designated historic district.”
- Health care billing: House Bill 1445 relates “to the applicability of the sales and use tax to medical or dental billing services.”
- Chicken coops & rabbit pens: House Bill 2535 relates “to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of real property that includes certain improvements used for the non-commercial production of food for personal consumption.” This applies to those with person chicken coops or rabbit pens on the property.
- Pilot program for apprentices: Senate Bill 1524 relates “to a sales and use tax refund pilot program for certain persons who employ apprentices.”
- Mortgage loans: Senate Bill 43 relates “to residential mortgage loans, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by means of a wrap mortgage loan; providing licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty.”
- E-commerce fraud: Senate Bill 855 relates “to the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works.”
- Certificates of formation: House Bill 3131 relates “to the information required to be included in the certificate of formation of a filing entity.”
- Securities: Senate Bill 1280 relates “to certain provisions of The Securities Act for which a person offering or selling a security may be held liable to a person buying the security.”
- Civil court costs: Senate Bill 41 relates “to the consolidation and allocation of state civil court costs; increasing certain civil court costs; authorizing fees.”
- Personal property tax exemptions: Senate Bill 1449 relates “to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of income-producing tangible personal property having a value of less than a certain amount.”
- Insurance Code: House Bill 1689 relates “to credit for reinsurance governed by certain covered agreements and ceded to certain assuming insurers.”
- Liens: House Bill 2237 relates “to mechanic’s, contractor’s, or material man’s liens.”
- Eminent domain negotiations for businesses & landowners: House Bill 2730 relates “to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority and the regulation of easement or right-of-way agents.”
- Appraisal review board members: House Bill 3788 relates “to the training and education of appraisal review board members.”
- City of Leander municipal management district: House Bill 4638 relates “to the creation of certain municipal management districts; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.”