January 1 of 2016 saw many new laws go into effect for Texas. The measure providing for open-carry of holstered handguns (HB 910) has received much attention, but there are many more laws that will affect Texans in the New Year. Below are just a few of the new laws you may have missed. To see all the laws that went into effect January 1, visit this list from the Texas Legislature.
Texas Franchise Tax: The Texas Franchise tax has been permanently reduced to 0.375 percent, rather than 0.5 percent, of taxable margin for those taxable entities primarily engaged in retail or wholesale trade (HB 32).
Uber and Others: Drivers for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft are now required to hold a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance for death, bodily injury and property damage for each incident (HB 1733).
Open Government: Most state government bodies are now required to make audio and video of open meetings available online within one week of the event (HB 283).
Judicial Bypass: For Texas minors seeking to have abortions without parental consent, additional restrictions have been put into place requiring the minor to petition in their county of residence (in most situations) and disclose more identifying personal information. Judges who hear these matters will now have five days (from two) to rule (HB 3994).
Landlord-Tenant: Landlords will be protected from liability for renting to individuals convicted of crimes (or arrested and placed on deferred adjudication) absent additional factors. The new provision clarifies that a renting to a person with a criminal record is not sufficient, absent other factors, to bring an negligence action against a landlord (HB 1510).