23 new Texas laws went into effect this year. Here’s what you need to know.

The new year brings new laws

AUSTIN, TX - JULY 12: The U.S. and Texas state flags fly outside the state Capitol building on July 12, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Texas Democrats have fled the state in order to prevent a quorum in protest over a Republican voting protection bill that they say is too restrictive. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images) (Sergio Flores, 2021 Getty Images)

Twenty-three new Texas laws go into effect this Saturday. Signed into law during the 87th Texas Legislative session, the new laws affect property valuations, third-party delivery services, law enforcement funding reductions, tax breaks for religious organizations and more.

Here’s a look at the new Texas laws that take effect on Jan. 1:

Third-party delivery apps: Senate Bill 911 relates “to the regulation of restaurants and third-party food delivery services, including the issuance of certain alcoholic beverage certificates to restaurants.”

The measure prohibits third-party delivery services from charging a restaurant a fee or requiring the restaurant to absorb a fee unless that restaurant has agreed to pay or absorb the fee under a written agreement; Prohibits delivery services from using a restaurant’s trade name or mark in a misleading way that suggests the restaurant sponsors or endorses the service; Requires third-party delivery services to to remove a restaurant from the service within 10 days of receiving a removal request; And requires delivery services to provide consumers a clearly identifiable way to report complaints and concerns regarding orders arranged through the service.

Floodplain/flood damage disclosure: House Bill 531 relates “to notice requirements for a leased dwelling located in a floodplain.”

Under the bill, landlords must tell prospective tenants if their property is located in a 100-year floodplain or if it was damaged by flooding within the past five years. Previously, state law required only people selling real property to disclose to prospective owners whether the property is located in a floodplain and landlords were not required to disclose potential flood risks to their tenants.

Law enforcement funding: Senate Bill 23 relates “to an election to approve a reduction or reallocation of funding or resources for certain county law enforcement agencies.”

The measure, which only applies to counties with more than 1 million residents, requires voter approval before a county can reduce law enforcement funding.

Apprentice pilot program: Senate Bill 1524 relates “to a sales and use tax refund pilot program for certain persons who employ apprentices.”

The measure provides a tax incentive for employers who hire apprentices. Employers will receive a $2,500 sales tax refund for each apprentice hired.

Chicken coops and property valuation: House Bill 2535 relates “to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of real property that includes certain improvements used for the noncommercial production of food for personal consumption.”

The measure requires appraisers to exclude noncommercial chicken coops and rabbit pens when determining the market value of a property.

Civil court costs and filing fees: Senate Bill 41 relates “to the consolidation and allocation of state civil court costs; increasing certain civil court costs; authorizing fees.”

Wrap mortgage loans: Senate Bill 43 relates “to residential mortgage loans, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by means of a wrap mortgage loan; providing licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty.”

Tax exemptions for disabled veterans: Senate Bill 794 relates “to eligibility for the exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homestead of a totally disabled veteran.”

Combatting e-commerce fraud: Senate Bill 855 relates “to the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works.”

Certificates of formation: House Bill 3131 relates “to the information required to be included in the certificate of formation of a filing entity.”

The measure requires a new business entity to list a preferred mailing address on its certificate of formation. As it stands, the mailing address listed on a business entity’s certificate of formation is often the address for the registered agent of the entity. When an agent’s address changes or the business entity’s registered agent changes, tax information and other correspondence sent by the comptroller of public accounts is often not received by the taxpayer for whom it is intended, according to the Texas Legislature’s bill analysis.

Long-term care transparency: House Bill 3961 relates “to required posting of information regarding the office of the state long-term care ombudsman on certain long-term care facilities’ Internet websites.”

The measure requires long-term care facilities to post information on their websites about the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office, an independent organization within the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that advocates for the rights of residents of long-term care facilities.

During fiscal year 2020, the organization investigated 7,047 complaints at nursing and assisted living facilities in the state.

Texas Securities Act: Senate Bill 1280 relates “to certain provisions of The Securities Act for which a person offering or selling a security may be held liable to a person buying the security.”

Tax exemptions on personal property: Senate Bill 1449 relates “to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of income-producing tangible personal property having a value of less than a certain amount.”

Property tax exemptions for charitable organizations: House Bill 115 relates “to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain property owned by a charitable organization and used in providing housing and related services to certain homeless individuals.”

The measure amends current state law which provides property tax exemption for charitable organizations that provide housing and related services to people experiencing homelessness.

Property tax exemptions for religious organizations: House Bill 1197 relates “to the period for which certain land owned by a religious organization for the purpose of expanding a place of religious worship or constructing a new place of religious worship may be exempted from ad valorem taxation.”

The bill extends the period of time religious organizations are exempted from paying property taxes on contiguously owned property intended for the expansion of the organization’s place of worship from six to 10 years.

Medical billing services: House Bill 1445 relates “to the applicability of the sales and use tax to medical or dental billing services.”

The measure exempts medical and dental billing service from the state’s sales or use tax.

Insurance Code amendment: House Bill 1689 relates “to credit for reinsurance governed by certain covered agreements and ceded to certain assuming insurers.”

Lien rights: House Bill 2237 relates “to mechanic’s, contractor’s, or materialman’s liens.”

Eminent domain negotiations: House Bill 2730 relates “to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority and the regulation of easement or right-of-way agents.”

The measure revises eminent domain negotiations between landowners and businesses.

Historic structure rehab: House Bill 3777 relates “to eligible costs and expenses for purposes of the franchise tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures”

Appraisal review board members: House Bill 3788 relates “to the training and education of appraisal review board members.”

Property valuations in historic districts: House Bill 3971 relates “to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of residential real property located in a designated historic district.”

Leander municipal management district: House Bill 4638 relates “to the creation of certain municipal management districts; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.”

Several bills already in effect have subsections which will take effect on Jan. 1. View those bills here.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.