New Laws in Texas: What Businesses Should Know

New Laws in Texas: What Businesses Should Know

Texas, known for its grandeur, is also known for enacting a substantial number of new laws that took effect on September 1 (view the complete list here). With over 770 new laws passed by the Texas Legislature this year, various aspects of life will be influenced, and businesses won’t be exempt.

Here’s a concise overview:

  1. Budget Allocation: The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 1, outlines how both state and federal tax dollars, including a substantial $144 billion in state general revenue taxes, will be utilized for the next two years. It accommodates an historic $32.7 billion surplus, potentially leading to tax cuts and broadband expansion.
  2. Power Grid Resilience: HB 1500 imposes regulations on power companies, ensuring additional compensation to generators during grid stress, ultimately enhancing grid stability.
  3. Business Court Creation: House Bill 19 establishes a new judicial district responsible for handling business cases statewide, with jurisdiction for actions exceeding $10 million. Judges for this district will be appointed by the governor.
  4. Housing Development Acceleration: House Bill 14 facilitates third-party review of building applications in cases where cities and counties fail to issue building permits within 15 days. This aims to expedite housing development.
  5. Explicit Shows Prohibited: SB 12 criminalizes businesses that host sexually explicit performances in the presence of minors. The law also targets performers who wear specific prosthetics and engage in suggestive dance moves when children are in the audience.
  6. Mobile Food Units: House Bill 2978 now mandates mobile food units to obtain permits from the county they operate in, impacting vendors in Tarrant County and beyond.
  7. Water Infrastructure Investment: SB 28/SJR 75 allocates $1 billion for upgrading water infrastructure and initiates various water supply projects, contingent on voter approval in November.
  8. Speed Limits and Safety: HB 1885 grants TxDOT the authority to temporarily adjust speed limits on roads and highways due to construction or weather conditions, prioritizing driver safety.
  9. Hospital Billing Transparency: SB 490 compels Texas hospitals and healthcare providers to provide patients with itemized bills in plain language before commencing debt collection efforts.
  10. Affordable Medications: HB 25 introduces the “Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Program,” allowing the state to collaborate with Canadian drug wholesalers to provide more affordable prescription drugs.
  11. Broadband Expansion: HB 9/HJR 125 allocates $1.5 billion for expanding internet access in Texas, although some argue it may not fully bridge the digital divide.
  12. State vs. Local Regulations: HB 2127, known as the “Death Star” bill, allows the state to supersede local governments in specific scenarios, including when municipal codes are stricter than state law.

This list is not exhaustive, and we strongly recommend reviewing the complete list here. Keep a vigilant eye on these changes as they unfold, as they could significantly impact your business operations and opportunities. For precise details on how these laws affect your business, consult legal experts.

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