Everything's bigger in Texas, and that includes the number of new laws that went into effect September 1 (click here for full list). More than 770 new laws passed by the Texas Legislature this year will impact various facets of life, and among them are several that may affect businesses.
Here's a brief overview:
The General Appropriations Act, House Bill 1, outlines how state and federal tax dollars, including $144 billion in state general revenue taxes, will be spent for the next two years. It accommodates an historic $32.7 billion surplus, offering potential tax cuts and broadband expansion.
Power Grid Resilience
HB 1500 imposes regulations on power companies, ensuring they pay extra to generators during grid stress, enhancing grid stability.
Business Court Creation
House Bill 19 establishes a new judicial district to hear cases involving businesses across the state, with jurisdiction for actions exceeding $10 million. Judges for this district will be appointed by the governor.
Housing Development Acceleration
House Bill 14 enables third-party review of building applications if cities and counties fail to issue building permits within 15 days, aimed at expediting housing development.
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.
Mobile Food Units
House Bill 2978 now requires mobile food units to obtain permits from the county they operate in, affecting vendors in Tarrant County, among others.
Water Infrastructure Investment
SB 28/SJR 75 earmarks $1 billion for upgrading water infrastructure and commences various water supply projects, contingent on voter approval in November.
Speed Limits and Safety
HB 1885 allows TxDOT to temporarily alter speed limits on roads and highways due to construction or weather conditions to enhance driver safety.
Hospital Billing Transparency
SB 490 mandates Texas hospitals and healthcare providers to furnish patients with itemized bills in plain language before debt collection efforts can commence.
HB 25 introduces the "Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Program," allowing the state to collaborate with Canadian drug wholesalers for more affordable prescription drugs.
HB 9/HJR 125 allocates $1.5 billion for expanding internet access in Texas, although some argue it's insufficient to bridge the digital divide fully.
State vs. Local Regulations
HB 2127, dubbed the "Death Star" bill, permits the state to supersede local governments in certain scenarios, including overriding municipal codes stricter than state law.
This is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to review the full list here. Keep an eye on these changes as they unfold, as they may impact your business operations and opportunities. For specific details on these laws and how they affect your business, please consult legal experts for precise guidance.