What you need to know about new Texas laws in 2018

The Lone Star flag waves in front of the dome at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on May 23, 2017.
The Lone Star flag waves in front of the dome at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on May 23, 2017.

HOUSTON – When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, more than two dozen laws took effect in Texas. They regulate everything from identification requirements, milk and prepaid calling cards.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the 26 laws that took effect Jan. 1, 2018, in the Lone Star State.

All of the laws listed below are in addition to the more than 600 laws that took effect on Sept. 1, 2017, some of which banned texting while driving and allowed Texans to carry swords.

ID requirements for credit, debit card users

S.B. 1381 gives retailers the right to prevent customers from using credit or debit cards if the customer cannot provide a government-issued photo identification that matches the name that is on the card.

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Voter ID changes

S.B. 5 comes on the heels of a ruling from a federal court that said Texas’ previous requirements for voter identification at the polls discriminates against minority voters. 

The new law allows voters who have a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID to show things like a bank statement or paycheck as a form of identification.

The law also includes a penalty for anyone who lies about their inability to obtain a photo ID, which can include jail time.

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Milk hauling

S.B. 1383 raises the cap on the amount of milk that can be hauled on a truck from 80,000 pounds to 90,000 pounds.

The bill also creates a new permit that costs $1,200.

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Odometer readings

S.B. 1062 creates an electronic version of the paper form for the odometer disclosure when transferring ownership of a motor vehicle. The bill is aimed at speeding up the process for insurance companies and vehicle owners.

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Prepaid calling cards

H.B. 2126 allows retailers who primarily sell prepaid calling cards to qualify for the lower franchise tax rate.

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Protesting appraisals

S.B. 1767 provides that property owners a louder voice in the appraisal protest process.

Before Monday, the result of an appraisal protest was final, even if the appraised value had increased. According to the new law, property owners now have the right to respond if the appraisal increases during the protest process.

More info >

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