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by Jeff Rasansky - September 1, 2017
Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky, managing partner of Rasansky Law Firm, is an aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyer with more than 25 years of legal experience.

The 85th Texas Legislature has finally concluded, and there are 1,252 new Texas laws on the books.

While many of these new laws will affect only a few Texans, some of them will have a big impact on many. We wanted to give our readers a peek at some of these new laws, while explaining (in layman’s terms) what exactly they mean.

Here is a quick roundup of some of the bills recently passed during the 85th Texas Legislature (and special session) this year. Most of these new Texas laws went into effect immediately or on September 1st, 2017, but some have yet to be imposed.


Ban on Texting & Driving [HB 62]

House Bill 62, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, prohibits drivers on public roads from using a wireless communication device (i.e., a cell phone) to read, write, or send an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle.

Texting and driving in Texas will be punishable by a fine of $25-$99, which raises to $100-$200 for any subsequent offenses. This new law will preempt all “texting and driving” ordinances previously passed by cities, but does not preempt city ordinances which go beyond texting while driving (i.e., hands-free ordinances).

The law also states that if a car accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, the offender can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year (in addition to any other charges/punishments).

Gov. Abbott asked lawmakers to pass broader legislation during this year’s special session which would roll back any city ordinances that banned mobile phone use beyond texting while driving, potentially nullifying existing hands-free ordinances in at least 45 Texas cities. While this legislation was initially passed by the full chamber, no vote was taken on this particular measure before the special session concluded on August 15th, 2017.

See this page for a more in-depth breakdown of the current texting and driving laws in Texas.


Elimination of Straight-Party Voting [HB 25]

House Bill 25, which will take effect on September 1st, 2020 (just before the next election), eliminates straight-ticket voting in Texas. Voters will no longer be able to hit a single button to vote for all candidates by party affiliation.


Children Left in Hot Cars [HB 478]

House Bill 478, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that a person who, by force or otherwise, enters a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a vulnerable individual (i.e., child) from the vehicle is immune from civil liability for damages resulting from that entry or removal.

Essentially, they cannot be sued for damages if they had good faith and reasonable belief, based on known circumstances, that entry into the motor vehicle is necessary to avoid imminent harm to the individual.

From 1998-2016, there have been at least 107 children in Texas alone who’ve died after being left in a hot car.

New Texas Laws for 2017-2018

The 85th Texas Legislature


Uber & Lyft Regulations [HB 100]

House Bill 100, which took effect immediately, amends current Occupations Code to regulate transportation network companies (i.e., Uber and Lyft), but does not apply to taxis, limousines, or other private transportation providers.

Under this new law, transportation network companies (TNCs) must be granted a permit and comply with state regulations. These regulations preempt local regulations, and include requiring drivers to have their cars properly insured, maintain a valid driver’s license, and pass a national criminal background check.

A transportation network company driver may refuse to provide service to a passenger who has demonstrated unruly and disorderly conduct, but according to the law, may not refuse to provide services for discriminatory reasons or to passengers with service animals (unless the driver has medical documentation verifying a medical reason for denying service).


No School on Memorial Day [HB 441]

House Bill 441, which went into effect immediately, simply states that a school district may not provide student instruction on Memorial Day.


Limited Liability of First Responders [HB 590]

House Bill 590, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, shields first responders who provide roadside assistance in good faith from liability related to their care, so long as they are not grossly negligent, reckless, or commit intentional misconduct.


Lottery Winners Can Remain Anonymous [HB 59]

House Bill 59, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, adds a provision which allows certain lottery winners who win $1 million or more to remain anonymous, unless they choose to receive their prize money in periodic installments.


Stem Cell Treatment (Charlie’s Law) [HB 810]

House Bill 810, which went into effect on September 1st, 2017, states that patients with a severe chronic disease or terminal illness are eligible to access and use an investigational stem cell treatment, but only if recommended or prescribed by a doctor.


Ambulances Can Only Be Used for Medical Services [HB 1249]

House Bill 1249, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that motor vehicles in this state that resemble an ambulance or emergency medical services vehicle (e.g., using the words ambulance, EMS, emergency, etc; displaying a star of life or Maltese cross; displaying forward-facing flashing red, white, or blue lights, using a siren) can no longer be operated unless used as an emergency medical services vehicle or for other legitimate governmental functions.

This law appears to be a direct response to the growing number of private companies which operate former ambulances as party buses or “slambulances.”


Impersonating a Police Officer [HB 683]

The law previously stated that it was illegal to be in possession of or use law enforcement insignia, or a vehicle, in a municipality of at least 1.18 million residents. House Bill 683, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, nullifies the population threshold requirement.


Drones Banned From Flying Over Jails & Sports Arenas [HB 1424]

House Bill 1424, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, amends Section 423.0045 of the Government Code to prohibit the operation of unmanned aircraft (i.e., drones, quadcopters) over correctional facilities and detention centers (i.e., jails, prisons), as well as over “sports venues” (i.e., an arena, automobile racetrack, coliseum, stadium, or other type of area or facility that has a seating capacity of 30,000 or more).


Additional Restrictions on Drones and Quadcopters [HB 1643]

House Bill 1643, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, restricts the operation of unmanned aircraft (i.e., drones, quadcopters) over “concentrated animal feeding operations,” oil or gas drilling sites, tanks used to store crude oil & gas, wellheads, or chemical production facilities if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders.

The new law also permits political subdivisions (e.g., cities, towns, and districts) to regulate drone use, but only during special events.


Discouraging Hailstorm Litigation [HB 1774]

House Bill 1774, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, adds significant hurdles to policyholders who want to dispute weather-related property damage claims. The goal of the new law is to discourage property owners from suing insurers over weather-related claims such as hail damage to a home’s roof.

This tort reform measure reduces the penalties insurance companies face when they don’t adequately cover claims caused by hail or severe weather. It also decreases the chances that the insurance company will have to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees, should they be forced to take the issue to court.


“Illegal Knife” Repeal [HB 1935]

House Bill 1935, which went into effect on September 1st, 2017, eliminates daggers, dirks, stilettos, poniards, swords, spears, and Bowie knives from Texas statute, effectively allowing them to be carried anywhere in the state.

Blades over 5 1/2 inches are now defined as “location restricted” knives. These knives may be carried throughout the state except in a narrow list of places (e.g., schools, colleges, correctional facilities, houses of worship, bars). Minors under the age of 18 are also restricted from carrying these types of knives.


Courts Required to Video Record Certain Proceedings [HB 214]

House Bill 214, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, amends the Government Code to require the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals to make video and audio recordings of each oral argument and public meeting available on the court’s website, but only if funds are made available.


Landlords Cannot Fine You for Calling the Police [HB 1099]

House Bill 1099, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that a landlord may not issue fines, prohibit, or limit a residential tenant’s right to summon police (or other emergency assistance) based on the tenant’s reasonable belief that an individual is in need of intervention or emergency assistance.


Wheelchair Restraints in Nursing Homes [HB 284]

House Bill 284, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, permits nursing homes and certain healthcare facilities to allow residents to use wheelchairs with self-release seat belts, if authorized by the resident or the resident’s guardian.


Workers’ Comp Death Benefits for First Responders [HB 2119]

House Bill 2119, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, allows the surviving spouse of an officer, first responder, or volunteer who was killed in the line of duty to receive workers’ compensation death benefits for life, whether or not the surviving spouse later remarries.


Reporting Improper Student-Teacher Relationships [SB 7]

Senate Bill 7, which went into effect on September 1st, 2017, states that the principal of a school district, district of innovation, or open-enrollment charter school campus must notify the superintendent or director of the applicable district no later than the seventh business day after learning of an educator’s termination or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct, including student-teacher relationships.


Improving The Department of Family and Protective Services [SB 24]

Senate Bill 24, which took effect on September 1st, 2017 (except for section 23, which went into effect immediately), does a variety of things related to improving services provided by the Department of Family and Protective Services, including:

  • Requiring the department to track repeated reports of abuse or neglect involving the same child or by the same alleged perpetrator, and group together reports involving different children in the same household.
  • Establishing procedure for the department to investigate child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • Requiring the department to use geographic risk mapping to identify areas with high risk of child maltreatment and fatalities, and use prevention and early intervention services in those areas.

Statute of Limitations on Cases of Exploitation [SB 998]

Senate Bill 998, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, completely removes the statute of limitations on criminal cases involving the exploitation of a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.


Priority to Voters With Mobility Issues [HB 658]

House Bill 658, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that an election officer may give voting order priority to individuals with a mobility problem that substantially impairs the person’s ability to move around.

Disabilities and conditions that may qualify you for voting order priority include paralysis, lung disease, the use of portable oxygen, cardiac deficiency, severe limitation in the ability to walk due to arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition, wheelchair confinement, arthritis, foot disorder, the inability to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest, or use of a brace, cane, crutch, or other assistive device. A person assisting an individual with a mobility problem may also, at the individual’s request, be given voting order priority.

Additionally, a voter who makes an application to vote early by mail on the grounds of age or disability requesting that the ballot be sent to the address of a residential care facility, is required to vote as provided by that chapter if five or more applications for ballots to be voted by mail are made by residents of the same facility who request that the ballots be sent to that facility.


Car Seat Safety Education During Drivers Ed [HB 1372]

House Bill 1372, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, requires that information relating to the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems (car seats) be included in the curriculum of each driver education and driving safety course.


Limiting Lawsuits Concerning ADA Violations [HB 1463]

House Bill 1463, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, allows business owners who fail to comply with standards meant to accommodate individuals with disabilities a specific amount of time to remedy architectural inadequacies following official notice.


Earning a Letter for Special Olympics [HB 1645]

House Bill 1645, which went into effect immediately, states that if a school district allows high school students to earn a letter for academic, athletic, or extracurricular achievements, the district must allow high school students in the district to earn a letter on the basis of a student’s participation in a Special Olympics event.


Legislating Bad Nursing Homes [HB 2025]

House Bill 2025, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, imposes harsher penalties on nursing homes that continuously fail to meet certain standards of established care, and creates staffing requirements and staff education for all facilities that provide care to Residents with Alzheimer’s disease, or related disorders.

The primary objective of HB 2025 is to prevent the abuse of the “right to correct” provision by repeat offenders with a history of serious violations. It empowers the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to “substantially change” the process by which facilities are disciplined and the penalties available.


Disallowing Parental Consent for Child Marriages [SB 1705]

Senate Bill 1705, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, removes the provision allowing parental consent to authorize the marriage of a minor. Texas law now only allows a person under 18 years old to marry if they have been granted a court order removing the “disabilities of minority” of the person for general purposes.

It should be noted that Texas had the highest number of child marriages in the country, with 40,000 children under 18 married from 2000-2014.


Regulating Autonomous Vehicles in Texas [SB 2205]

Senate Bill 2205, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, permits the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to govern the operation of automated motor vehicles, and prohibits political subdivisions (e.g., cities, towns, and districts) and state agencies from regulating the operation of such vehicles.

The law allows driverless vehicles to be tested on Texas roads, and the measure lays the groundwork for these vehicles to someday be driven/produced in the state by allowing continued testing.


Increased Penalties for Littering [HB 1884]

House Bill 1884, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, increases the penalties for certain violations associated with littering. If an individual is convicted of illegal dumping, outdoor burning of household refuse, or the disposal of litter in a cave, they would be required to perform a term of community service not to exceed 60 hours, in addition to any fine or other penalties assessed. Don’t mess with Texas!


Tickets for Driving Without Car Insurance [SB 1187]

Senate Bill 1187, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, requires a peace officer to attempt to verify the existence of a driver’s liability insurance policy through the verification program before they are allowed to issue a citation to a driver of a motor vehicle for operating the vehicle without financial responsibility.


Submitting Wage Claims Online [HB 2443]

House Bill 2443, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, allows an employee who is not paid wages they are legally owed, to file a claim electronically (as opposed to in person, by mail, or by fax) with the Texas Workforce Commission.


Child Abuse by an Active Duty US Armed Forces Member [HB 2124]

House Bill 2124, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that in an investigation of a report of abuse or neglect allegedly committed by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody, or welfare, the department shall determine whether the person is an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces (or the spouse of a member on active duty).

If the department determines the person is an active duty member of the United States armed forces or the spouse of a member on active duty, the department shall notify the United States Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program at the closest active duty military installation of the investigation.


Health Advisory Councils for School Districts [SB 489]

Senate Bill 489, which went into effect immediately, states that school districts are now required to create health advisory councils to provide recommendations on physical education and nutrition, as well as recommendations on instruction to prevent the use of e-cigarettes.


EpiPens in Private Schools [SB 579]

Senate Bill 579, which took effect immediately, amends Sec. 38.201 of the Texas Education Code to include private schools. This law states that each school district and open-enrollment charter school may adopt and implement a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) at each campus in the district or school.


Alcoholic Beverages on Passenger Buses [HB 3101]

House Bill 3101, which went into effect immediately, authorizes the sale of alcoholic beverages on certain passenger buses. The act creates a new passenger bus beverage permit (at the cost of $500 a year) that gives operators of passenger buses the same right to sell alcohol that commercial planes have. The permits would come from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.


Banks Must Report Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Individuals [HB 3921]

House Bill 3921, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, requires employees of financial institutions to report on financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult if they have good cause to believe that financial exploitation is occurring.

The financial institution (e.g., bank, credit union, etc.) are compelled to assess the suspected financial exploitation and submit a report to the Department of Family and Protective Services, in the same manner as, and containing the same information required to be reported under the Human Resources Code regarding abuse, neglect, and exploitation of an elderly person.


Protecting Sermons from Subpoenas [SB 24]

Senate Bill 24, which went into effect immediately, prohibits government entities from compelling, or attempting to compel, the production of a recording or transcript of a religious sermon in a civil or administrative proceeding. This legislation would not apply to criminal proceedings.


David’s Law (Anti-Cyberbullying) [SB 179]

Senate Bill 179, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, modifies the existing definition of bullying and create a new definition for cyberbullying. The law mandates that public and private schools adopt policies relating to cyberbullying, and includes a provision that would require the reporting of potential bullying offenses to local law enforcement.

The act provides that a person commits an offense if the person directs multiple written, oral, or electronic communications toward a child in a manner that is reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend the child, with the intent that the child commit suicide or engage in conduct causing serious bodily injury.

The law was named after 16-year-old student David Molak, who took his own life in January of 2016 after enduring relentless cyberbullying.


Reviewing Pending Child Abuse Cases [SB 190]

Senate Bill 190, which took effect immediately, establishes a procedure to review cases that remain open for 60 days following a report of child abuse or neglect made to the Department of Family and Protective Services, and to determine if the case qualifies for closure under the statute.


Seat Belts on School Buses [SB 693]

Under current law, a school bus and school activity bus must be equipped with a three-point seat belt for each passenger.

Senate Bill 693, which went into effect on September 1st, 2017, amends current Transportation Code by including multi-function school activity buses or school-charter buses to the seat belt requirement.

This bill exempts all buses that are 2017 models or earlier; or a model 2018 or newer, if the board of trustees determines that a district’s budget does not permit the purchase of buses allowed by this bill and votes to approve the determination in a public meeting.


Safety Inspections for Trailers & Mobile Homes [SB 1001]

Previously, a trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or mobile home with a gross or registered weight of 4,500 pounds or less was exempt from the state safety inspection requirements.

Senate Bill 1001, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, raises the weight threshold to 7,500 pounds. For those exempted vehicles weighing more than 4,500 pounds, a fee of $7.50 will be imposed.

Unfortunately, this means that even fewer vehicles sharing our roads are subject to critical safety inspections.


Reducing License To Carry Fees [SB 16]

Senate Bill 16, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, drops the cost of a License to Carry from $140 to $40. It also waives the fee for Texas military and peace officers.


Sexual Assault Awareness Month [HB 822]

House Bill 822, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, officially designates April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in order to increase awareness and prevention of sexual assault.


Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day [HB 3042]

House Bill 3042, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, officially designates July 7th as Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day in recognition of the ultimate sacrifice made by Texas law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.


Train Safety Awareness Month [HCR 49]

House Concurrent Resolution 49, which went into effect immediately, officially designates July as Train Safety Awareness Month for a 10-year period beginning in 2017.


Fallen First Responder Awareness Month [HCR 86]

House Concurrent Resolution 86, which went into effect immediately, officially designates May as Fallen First Responder Awareness Month for a 10-year period beginning in 2017.


Knife Capitol of Texas [HCR 27]

House Concurrent Resolution 27, which went into effect immediately, designates Spurger as the “Knife Capital of Texas” for a 10-year period beginning in 2017.


Live Music Capital of North Texas [HCR 42]

House Concurrent Resolution 42, which went into effect immediately, designates the city of Rockwall as the official “Live Music Capital of North Texas” for a 10-year period beginning in 2017.


Wedding Capital of Texas [HCR 70]

House Concurrent Resolution 70, which went into effect immediately, designates Dripping Springs as the official “Wedding Capital of Texas” for a 10-year period beginning in 2017.


Black and White Drivers License Photos [HB 1345]

Previously, Texas law stated that a drivers license must include “a color photograph of the entire face of the holder.” House Bill 1345, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, simply removes the word “color” from the law so that “DPS can pick the safest, most secure license possible.”


Labeling Secondhand Wrist Watches [HB 2027]

House Bill 2027, which went into effect immediately, repeals a 1941 law geared to cut down on counterfeiting that required secondhand watches to be specifically labeled and marketed.

Apparently, Texas was very strict when it came to the sale or transfer of secondhand wrist watches, and required such watches to be clearly labeled as secondhand when selling and/or advertising. HB 2027 amends the current law to remove any criminal penalties.


Hog Hunting From Hot Air Balloons [HB 3535]

House Bill 3535, which took effect on September 1st, 2017, states that a qualified landowner or landowner’s agent (as determined by commission rule) may contract to participate as a hunter or observer in using a hot air balloon to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes under the authority of a permit.

You read that right. It’s now legal to shoot feral hogs and coyotes from a hot air balloon in Texas, as strange as that sounds.


Congratulating Gregory D. Watson [HCR 145]

In what might be the strangest-looking resolution passed during this year’s legislative session, House Concurrent Resolution 145 officially congratulates Gregory D. Watson on having the overall course grade for his 1982 University of Texas American government class elevated from a C to an A after a wait of 35 years.

While this may sound odd, the story behind it is quite fascinating!


Of course this is only a sampling of the 1,200+ bills passed during Texas’ 85th legislative session. If you feel we left out an important new law, let us know by leaving a comment below!

  1. August 22, 2017

    Are car inspections required after 2017?

    • August 22, 2017

      Hi Veronique,
      Yes, car inspections are still required in Texas moving forward. While the bill you’re referring to (Senate Bill 1588) was approved by the Texas Senate in May, it never made it to the House floor for a vote.

  2. August 23, 2017

    So do you have to still h a CHL to open carry

    • August 24, 2017

      Hi Alvin,
      Yes, you do still need a CHL to open carry in Texas. The “constitutional carry” bill you’re referring to (House Bill 375) was left pending in committee and ultimately did not pass this legislative session.

      • October 2, 2017

        Section 1 of the Texas Bill of Rights states FREEDOM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF STATE. Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States… And since the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution is superior to Sec. 23 of the Texas Bill of Rights. And the SCOTUS has ruled the following: “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)

        “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)
        On what authority does the Texas Legislature have to pass laws requiring a permit to carry side arms? Can the above analogy be used as an effective defense for carrying w/o a permit?

  3. August 26, 2017

    Could you expand on Discouraging Hailstorm Litigation ???? i seems like is one sided to help insurance company’s and leave the policy holder on its own with little recuse.

  4. August 26, 2017

    So, Strauss is allowing this to go on rather than deal with with the Education System? Shameful legislative leader

  5. August 26, 2017

    What about HB 2120 that reduces an inmates time excluding capital murder and sexual assault?

    • August 28, 2017

      HB 2120 was unfortunately left pending in committee this legislative session, and failed to become law as a result.

  6. August 28, 2017

    what is the new law going into effect on September 1st which should help property owners recover losses after storms like Hurricane Harvey?

  7. August 28, 2017

    Is there anything victims of Hurricane Harvey can file before 9/1/17 that will mitigate the effect of HB 1774, the so-called Hailstorm Litigation?

  8. August 29, 2017

    Our non profit works within our vulnerable populations throughout Tx who speak Spanish about health and wellness. Do you have anything translated in Spanish that we can use to raise awareness of the new laws, specifically House Bill 1774?

    • August 30, 2017

      Hi Venus,
      Unfortunately I do not have anything translated into Spanish, but please feel free to translate the information on this page. I only ask that if you re-publish a translation of this article online, that you link to the original article. Thank you for your work!

  9. August 30, 2017

    Any new laws that relate directly with tdcj?

  10. August 31, 2017

    What laws are going into effect on Sept 1 regarding Immigration. Anything specifically about authorities being allowed to ask for immigration statues for a traffic stop. With the curfews in effect because of Harvey, I have been asked numerous questions about immigration statues must be provable at any time some one is asked. Nerves are on edge already here in Houston without the additional fear for being taken in to immigration. Can you please help me get reliable true information. Thank you,

    • August 31, 2017

      As written, State Bill 4 (the “sanctuary cities” bill) prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement, allows police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest, and threatens officials who violate the law with fines, jail time and removal from office.

      Just yesterday (two days before it was to go into effect) a federal judge halted the part of the bill that required jail officials to honor all detainers, and another that prohibits “a pattern or practice that ‘materially limits’ the enforcement of immigration laws.” Police officers are still allowed to question the immigration status of people they detain, but are limited in what they can do with the information.

      “If during a lawful detention or arrest an officer obtains information that a detained or arrested individual is undocumented he may not arrest the individual on this basis,” said U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia. “In sum, SB 4 gives local officers discretion to inquire and share information, but it does not provide them with discretion to act upon the information that they may obtain.”

      Unfortunately, our firm only practices personal injury law. I strongly suggest speaking to an attorney who handles immigration and criminal defense matters for more clarification on SB 4.

  11. August 31, 2017

    Any new laws about pets?

  12. August 31, 2017

    Just wondering if they’re going to pass a law about not smoking in the car with your children I

    • September 1, 2017

      I don’t believe any bills relating to smoking in a vehicle with children were filed this legislative session, but lawmakers did try to pass such a law during the previous session two years ago (HB 461). The bill was never approved by the house and failed to become law.

  13. August 31, 2017

    Was a law passed requiring approval by residents living in an area that a city wants to annex?

  14. August 31, 2017

    What about the first responder conceal carry bill? Was it passed to law? I didn’t see anything in it.
    Thanks

    • September 1, 2017

      There were two similar bills files this legislative session. One (SB 1408) failed to pass, while the other (HB 435) passed and went into effect today.

      House Bill 435 relates to the carrying of weapons, including the application of certain weapons and handgun license laws to certain persons, the carrying of handguns by license holders on the property of a state hospital, and the liability for certain actions of volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a handgun; providing a civil penalty. Full text of the law can be read here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB00435F.htm

  15. September 1, 2017

    Hi, I was reading a newspaper article that said a bill was passed to allow more time to pay a students lunch account off. They didn’t reference the bill. Do you know what they may have been referring to so I can read it?

    Thank you!

  16. September 1, 2017

    If you have a LCT can you now conceal carry at a private school even if it is against school policy? (As long as there are no 30.6 signs?)

  17. September 1, 2017

    High interest on title loans they charges to much you never get them paid off

  18. September 1, 2017

    was wondering about the inheritance tax’s

  19. September 1, 2017

    Was there any new laws passed on Sex Offender registration?

  20. September 1, 2017

    Is there a new law on sex offender parolees traveling to Parole Office. My grandson was denied my address because he would have to pass a school zone.

  21. September 1, 2017

    Is it now possible to receive a expunction for a DWI?

    • September 5, 2017

      The new law giving DWI offenders a ‘second chance’ is HB 3016 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB03016F.htm). The law allows first time DWI offenders to apply for an order of “non-disclosure” (as opposed to a full expunction), which would place restrictions on who can see your criminal record, IF you get an “ignition interlock” installed in your vehicle. For more information, I would recommend reaching out to a criminal defense law firm.

  22. September 1, 2017

    any new law for disabled veterans

  23. September 1, 2017

    Any marijuana laws?

    • September 5, 2017

      No marijuana reform bills made it to the Governor’s desk this year.

      • September 5, 2017

        thank you Texas, it is gateway drug that leads to horrible outcomes for our society. Medical marijuana for certain conditions should be looked into further by prescription only. Keep all the people who live their lives “high” off our streets.

  24. September 1, 2017

    What happened to the bills regarding daylight savings time change?

    • September 5, 2017

      HB 2400 (relating to daylight saving time) was left pending in committee at the end of the legislative session, and thus failed to become law.

  25. September 2, 2017

    I’m in a wheelchair and the bank of mailboxes where I live is not accessible. Isn’t the U.S. Post Office in violation of the ADA?

  26. September 2, 2017

    What is the new law regarding cutting down trees on your own residential lot to build a personal home?

  27. September 2, 2017

    There had been a bill proposed regarding dog treatment; they couldn’t be chained up, had to be provided adequate shelter….etc.
    Did this pass?

    • September 5, 2017

      No, House Bill 1156 (relating to the unlawful restraint of a dog; creating an offense) was returned to committee, and thus failed to pass this legislative session.

  28. September 2, 2017

    Any new laws relating to schoolteachers?

  29. September 2, 2017

    Did the law get passed about lane splitting on a motprcycle?

    • September 5, 2017

      No, both bills related to lane splitting (SB 442 and HB 813) failed to pass this legislative session.

  30. September 2, 2017

    HB 1819 if I’m correct, sums up that anything that is legal federally (BATF) is legal in Texas. Texas had some wording that left some “legal” firearms illegal in Texas. Also cleared the way that if the hearing protection act is passed suppressor will be Texas legal, they would also have been denied in Texas due to wording.

    • September 5, 2017

      As far as I can tell from the text of the bill (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB01819I.htm), a person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells a firearm silencer unless “classified as a curio or relic by the United States Department of Justice or the actor otherwise possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells the firearm silencer in compliance with federal law.

      Unfortunately this is not an area of law our firm is familiar with, and I would strongly recommend speaking with an attorney who handles firearm-related matters for clarification on HB 1819.

  31. September 3, 2017

    Any news on the legalization of marijuana in Texas?

    • September 5, 2017

      No marijuana reform bills made it to the Governor’s desk this year.

  32. September 3, 2017

    There was a bill to add some type of tax for residents in nursing home and/or assisted living facilities. If I recall correctly, the tax collected was to be sent to the State but would somehow be sent back to the nursing/assisted living owner. Passed?

    • September 5, 2017

      The “granny tax” bills you’re referring to (Senate Bill 1130 and House Bill 2766) did not pass and failed to become law.

  33. September 3, 2017

    Got. Aquestion about insurance death benefits…..recently a friend lost his wife ….ex wife..they were just divorced..she had a death policy but did not change the beneficiary…mind you they just got divorced 2 weeks pryior to her death.per the decree of divorce there is a statement says husband not entitled …but the beneficiary was never changed ..who is beneficiary.?..no children …

    • September 5, 2017

      Unfortunately, our firm doesn’t handle estate/probate issues. I strongly recommend reaching out to an estate attorney for clarification (look for one who offers free consultations).

  34. September 4, 2017

    Are there any new laws concerning marijuana usage – recreational or medicinal?

    • September 5, 2017

      No marijuana reform bills made it to the Governor’s desk this year.

  35. September 4, 2017

    Have you heard anything about cannabis approval legislation for medical use

    • September 5, 2017

      No marijuana reform bills made it to the Governor’s desk this year.

  36. September 5, 2017

    Any new law regarding mandatory requirements for G3 criminal offenders? Current requirements were mandatory 50% of sentence incarceration however there was a law to reduce mandatory incarceration to 35%? Thanks!

  37. September 5, 2017

    Any idea if constitutional carry will be brought up again?

  38. September 5, 2017

    I was recently interviewed for a retail management position and was told that I would not be drug tested due to a new law. I should of inquired about it during the interview but I didn’t and can’t find anything on the internet about it. Any knowledge of the subject?

    • September 6, 2017

      Unfortunately, I can’t find any new laws passed this year which deal with drug screening.

  39. September 6, 2017

    Any new laws on childs car seat?

    • September 6, 2017

      The only new law I could find which addresses child car seats is HB 1372 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB01372F.htm), which states that information relating to the proper use of child passenger safety seat systems now needs to be included in the curriculum of each driver education and driving safety course.

  40. September 6, 2017

    Was the Equal Parenting Bill HB 453 passed?

    • September 6, 2017

      House Bill 453, which would have addressed parental equality, died during the legislative session in May and thus failed to become law.

  41. September 6, 2017

    Are there any new employment laws?

  42. September 7, 2017

    Do you know what was the argument/reason/justification for taking away straight party ticket voting?
    Thanks

    • September 7, 2017

      Supporters of the bill say removing the option will force voters to make more informed decisions in individual elections, and that Texas is one of only nine states that still allowed straight-ticket voting. Opponents say the legislation will disproportionately impact minority voters.

      Though the state does not collect data on straight-ticket votes cast, there have been generally fewer Republican straight-ticket votes and more Democratic straight-ticket ballots in Texas’ largest 10 counties over the past four presidential elections.

      • September 12, 2017

        The only difference that will make is time.

  43. September 7, 2017

    What was the outcome of SB 1620 (Relating to the regulation of raising or keeping six or fewer chickens by a political subdivision)?

    • September 7, 2017

      SB 1620 was passed by the Senate, but was never voted on by the House before the end of the legislative session and thus failed to become law.

  44. September 7, 2017

    I was told by an officer that after Sept 1, he would no longer be allowed to give verbal warnings for traffic infractions, like rolling through a stop sign on a bike. He stated that he would have to give a written warning, or write a ticket. Is this in the new laws?

    • September 7, 2017

      No, this is not a new Texas law. I suspect that this police department may just be implementing a new internal policy. Technically, the city MAY have passed a local ordinance relating to this, but I still see that as extremely unlikely. I would try contacting the department using a non-emergency line, and seeing if they can verify/elaborate.

  45. September 8, 2017

    Anything regarding red light cameras?

    • September 8, 2017

      There were two bills filed relating to red light tickets this year. SB 87 (which aimed to prevent county and state officials from withholding vehicle registrations because of outstanding red-light camera tickets), and SB 88 (which aimed to prohibit red light cameras completely). While both bills passed the Senate, they were never voted on by the House and both ultimately failed to become law.

      You may want to look at this story, though: http://kxan.com/investigative-story/red-light-cameras-across-texas-could-be-operating-illegally/

  46. September 8, 2017

    Can my son get married at 17? Do they grace days?

    • September 8, 2017

      Hi Tonya,
      There is no grace period. The law now states that “A county clerk may not issue a marriage license if either applicant is under 18 years of age, unless each underage applicant shows that the applicant has been granted by this state or another state a court order removing the disabilities of minority of the applicant for general purposes” (i.e., a judge has issued a court order finding that the minor lives on their own and are no longer dependent on parents or guardians to support themselves).

  47. September 10, 2017

    What are the new laws passed on divorce?

  48. September 13, 2017

    What about if the parent has been out of the childs life for 10 yrs and he didnt follow the court papers all this time and now suddenly he wants to see the child and the child has never know him what rights do I have as the mother can if adoption can be made with the step dad

    • September 13, 2017

      Hi Maria,
      I wish I could offer advice, but unfortunately we don’t practice family law at our firm. I recommend seeking out an attorney near you who offers free consultations.

  49. September 13, 2017

    What are the new laws for car seat/boosters? Age, weight, height?

  50. September 13, 2017

    I have a question… In order for a new born baby to have his fathers full name or for her to have his last name by any chance do you have to be married? Not sure if that’s the new law?

    • September 14, 2017

      I don’t see any new laws which appear to address that, but I would recommend speaking with a family law attorney for more information.

  51. September 16, 2017

    I just read where daggers, knives, swords, etc., have been taken off the restricted list and are now considered open-carry. Are there any new or existing laws regulating the open-carry of knives and such into retail establishments or other businesses, or do you suppose each business will have to adopt measures on their own?

    • September 18, 2017

      As far as I know (and I recommend speaking to a criminal defense attorney for clarification), there are still places you can’t carry a long blade, including: schools, school buses, bars (businesses earning more than 51 percent of their income from alcohol to be consumed on the premises), polling places, government courts or court offices, any place where a sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, correctional facilities, racetracks, amusement parks, churches/synagogues/places of worship, in secured areas of airports, and 1,000 feet around hospitals or nursing facilities. Business owners are also permitted to post signs prohibiting anyone from bringing a knife on the property.

  52. September 18, 2017

    Has there been any decision to treat e-cigarettes as real tobacco cigarettes.?

  53. September 18, 2017

    Were there any laws passed concerning juveniles? Like about giving good time and or about sentence reduction on life sentences for offenders tried as adults?

  54. September 18, 2017

    Has the sentenced time for an aggravated felon been reduced?

  55. September 18, 2017

    Did the law change from 50% to 1/3 on sept. 1 on Texas?

  56. September 25, 2017

    For all of those who don’t have children in their daily lives…. Is a child car seat required if there are no children to use them?? What if asked on (one) rare occasions to transport a child and the driver doesn’t have access to a car seat because they never needed one and probably never will again?? Could driver be ticketed for not having a car seat??

    • September 26, 2017

      Hi Pat,
      According to the language of the law (§ 545.412 of the Texas Transportation Code), “A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.” If on a rare occasion you’re asked to transport a child under 8 years old, we strongly recommend that you ask the parent or guardian to also supply you with their booster seat.

      There is an affirmative defense to prosecution (i.e., you can still be ticketed, but have it dismissed later) if “the person was operating the vehicle in an emergency,” or if “the defendant provides to the court evidence satisfactory to the court that, at the time of the offense: (1) the defendant was not arrested or issued a citation for violation of any other offense; (2) the defendant did not possess a child passenger safety seat system in the vehicle; and (3) the vehicle the defendant was operating was not involved in an accident. AND subsequent to the time of the offense, the defendant obtained an appropriate child passenger safety seat system for each child required to be secured in a child passenger safety seat system.”

      I hope this helps, but I strongly recommend speaking to a criminal defense lawyer for further clarification.

  57. September 27, 2017

    I have been told as of Sept 1, 2017, erythromycin opthalamic ointment for newborns is no longer a state law in Texas but I can’t find the text anywhere. Will you point me in the right direction if able to? Thank you!

    • September 27, 2017

      Hi Kristiana,
      Yes, House Bill 2886 (which was passed this year and went into effect September 1st, 2017) amends Sec. 81.091 of the Texas Health and Safety Code (“OPHTHALMIA NEONATORUM PREVENTION; CRIMINAL PENALTY”) by adding subsection g-1, which states that “A physician, nurse, midwife, or other person in attendance at childbirth who is unable to apply the prophylaxis as required by this section due to the objection of a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the newborn infant does not commit an offense under this section and is not subject to criminal, civil, or administrative liability or any professional disciplinary action for failure to administer the prophylaxis. The physician, nurse, midwife, or person shall ensure that the objection of the parent, managing conservator, or guardian is entered into the medical record of the infant.”

      See Section 81.091 of the Texas Health and Safety Code here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.81.htm, and the text of HB 2886 here: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB02886F.HTM

  58. October 1, 2017

    Why has”lane splitting” laws not been brought up for commitee examination and vote? I am a small cc mc and scooter rider in Houston, and all indicators from California point to it’s contribution of numerous lives saved! Let us educate the public with signage to split the lanes while at traffic lights. It’s not about what the opinion of many four wheelers think or espound, but the elimination of rear end fatalities at the back of the pack, often by distracted and or drugged or intoxicated drivers. Let us put Texas at the forefront of safety for all drivers, just as California has done!

  59. October 2, 2017

    Did SB 1620 Pass? Allowing to keep 6 or fewer chickens?

    • October 3, 2017

      Hi Awni, while SB 1620 was passed by the Senate, it was never voted on by the House before the end of the legislative session and thus failed to become law.

  60. October 5, 2017

    There was a proposed law that was slated to legalize the useage of ATV’s on Texas Roadways so long as it was within certain distances, etc. from ones home; did that fail or get revised or approved in any way?

    Fred K.

    • October 5, 2017

      Hi Fred,
      There were two new laws relating to the use of ATVs that passed this legislative session.
      1) HB 920 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB00920F.htm) Relating to the operation of all-terrain vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles.
      2) HB 1956 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB01956F.htm) Relating to the operation of certain off-highway vehicles.

      HB 920 simply amends the triangular flag requirement and permits emergency services workers (in addition to peace officers) to travel up to 10 miles from the point of origin to the destination.
      HB 1956 appears to primarily alter the language in order to apply different rules to golf carts, ATVs and UTVs.

      I also found another ATV-related bill that failed to pass this year. SB 684 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/SB00684I.htm) sought to allow local authorities to allow and regulate of the operation of utility vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and recreational off-highway vehicles on public roadways, but ultimately failed to pass.

  61. October 5, 2017

    Hi Awni. What happened with HB 2974? “Sextortion” has become an epidemic mainly targeting minors. I understand other laws are in place both federally and on the state level which cater more to the Sexual Performance by a Child and Child Pornography laws but sometimes these elements require a tremendous amount of leg work and investigation to get these alleged predators off the streets. I believe HB 2974 would provide law enforcement a more direct approach to attack the problem before a child becomes a target.

    • October 5, 2017

      Unfortunately, HB 2974 was ultimately withdrawn, and pursuant to Rule 6, Section 24 of the House Rules, was returned to the Committee on Local and Consent Calendars. I cannot tell why this particular bill was not voted on, but I agree with your assessment and hope to see the bill reintroduced during the next legislative session in 2019.

  62. October 5, 2017

    Are there any new laws about your vehicle exhaust? Preferably on classic vehicles.

    • October 6, 2017

      Bryce, unfortunately I couldn’t find any newly-passed laws which deal with vehicle exhaust. There were a few bills passed relating to inspections of commercial vehicles, and one proposed bill (SB 1588) WOULD HAVE eliminated vehicle inspections entirely, but it failed to pass.

  63. October 7, 2017

    what new laws are established and passed in regards to medications given in the nursing home setting? prohibited medications?

    • October 9, 2017

      Hi Stacey, I couldn’t find any new laws which seemed to address medication in nursing homes, assisted living centers, etc. Is there something in particular that you’re concerned about?

  64. October 8, 2017

    Did HB 2992 pass?

    • October 9, 2017

      Hi Shelby,
      HB 2992 was returned to the Local & Consent Calendars Committee, and thus failed to become law this legislative session.

  65. October 11, 2017

    Cannot find the new law on burning of household refuse anywhere on line. Did it go into effect and what constitutes household refuse?

    • October 11, 2017

      The closest thing I could find to what you described is HB 1619 (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/HB01619F.htm) Relating to the prosecution and punishment of certain outdoor burning violations. This bill passed and went into effect September 1st, but I’m not sure it’s the bill you were referring to. From a cursory reading, I believe the bill essentially gives local ordinances precedence when prosecuting 1st-time outdoor burning violations that don’t involve “heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, or chemical wastes,” but doesn’t appear to add language which permits burning of household refuse.

  66. October 12, 2017

    What about having chickens??

    • October 12, 2017

      While SB 1620 (relating to the regulation of raising or keeping six or fewer chickens by a political subdivision) was passed by the Senate, it was never voted on by the House before the end of the legislative session and thus failed to become law.

  67. October 24, 2017

    Was there a new law passed that all parolees must parole out to a halfway house rather than a private residence?

    • October 26, 2017

      Hi Jean,
      After a cursory search, I couldn’t find any new laws that seemed to address this issue. We’re a personal injury law firm, so I’m not 100% familiar with this area of the law, but I would recommend speaking to a criminal defense law firm for a better answer. Thank you.

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