Texas New Laws

We all have "friends" who work in the legal field whether police, constable, legal assistant or others who we ask advice or to clarify legal rumors.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is to READ the law yourself.  Rumors can really get you trouble.

The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature officially concluded and was gaveled Sine Die, on Monday, May 27th. 7,324 bills were filed during the 86th Texas Legislature and 1,429 of them were passed. If you would like to see them all, a great website to visit is
https://legiscan.com/TX/legislation/2019

We’re going to list a few of the new laws passed and some that have remained unchanged.


Texas Dept. of Transportation Cell phone law

In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed a statewide ban on using a wireless communications device for electronic messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Texting, as well as reading or writing email, is prohibited while driving in Texas.

Many local areas have passed stricter ordinances which completely limit any cell phone use while driving, so it is the responsibility of drivers to learn the laws in their local areas.

Cell Phone Prohibitions

  •  Drivers cannot send or receive electronic messages in Texas.
  •  Drivers with learner's permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving.
  •  Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless communications devices.
  •  School bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.
  •  In school zones, all drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving.
  •  Local restrictions: Drivers should become familiar with any ordinances in effect in their local areas. Drivers should contact their local municipality to determine if there are additional laws governing the use of cell phones.

TEXAS — (SEC. 545.412 TEXAS TRANSPORTATION CODE) Child Safety

While the Texas Department of Public Safety often uses the language “booster seat” in their description of the law for “booster”- age children, the actual complete child seat law is as follows:

  •  Any child younger than 8 years of age must be secured in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.
  •  In such a case as a child is under 8 years of age but at least four feet nine inches in height, the child may use the vehicle seat belt.

Property Tax Reform

Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 2, which delivers significant property tax reforms that will cap property tax increases without voter approval and provide tax reform to homeowners and businesses across Texas.

Senate Bill 2 lowers the property tax rollback rate to 3.5% for cities and counties. Any increase to this rollback rate in cities, counties, and some special districts will require voter approval and automatically trigger a tax ratification election. This rollback rate will be renamed the voter approval tax rate going forward.

SB 2 also requires taxing units to post their budgets, tax rates, and tax rate calculation worksheets online. The bill makes numerous improvements to the appraisal and protest process, such as prohibiting an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) from increasing the value of a taxpayer property above its initial value, increasing training requirements for ARB members and arbitrators, and entitling taxpayers to the evidence the appraisal district plans to present at their ARB hearing free of charge.

Marijuana, Hemp, and the 2018 Farm Bill

Congress’ 2018 Farm Bill differentiated hemp from marijuana by setting a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) threshold concentration of 0.3%. Anything above 0.3% is still considered marijuana and therefore generally illegal in Texas.

H.B. 1325 Adopted the Federal Framework

The Farm Bill delegated primary authority over how to regulate the production and sale of hemp to the states. H.B. 1325 adopted the 0.3% THC standard (same as the Farm Bill) for distinguishing regulated hemp from prohibited marijuana. Furthermore, H.B. 1325 directs the Texas Department of Agriculture to pass rules requiring hemp producers to be state-licensed and test their products to ensure 0.3% or less THC concentration. Importantly, the law also requires a shipping certificate that confirms the product in transport is legally compliant hemp (no more than 0.3% THC). Failure to have the required certificate during transport is a misdemeanor and also subjects the person to a civil penalty of up to $500 per violation.

In short, H.B. 1325 gave prosecutors more tools to prosecute these crimes, not less, because they can now prosecute a misdemeanor for failure to have a proper hemp certificate.

Red-light cameras banned.

HB 1631 : Signed on June 3

The ban goes into effect immediately, the devices could still linger in some communities for a few more years, as the bill only prevents cities from renewing their current contracts with vendors.

https://gov.texas.gov/

https://capitol.texas.gov/

If you or someone you love has legal needs in Montgomery County, you should seek a qualified attorney such as John E. Choate, Jr who can handle your case with skill.

We are a Conroe Law Office focused on winning your case. Established in Spring 1995, we serve Montgomery, Harris, and the surrounding counties. Founded on the pillars of respect, diligence, and loyalty, we are here to help you through the most difficult times in your life.

Make an appointment TODAY for your free initial consultation.

 

2 Comments

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