As the clock strikes midnight, more than a dozen new laws in Texas took
effect. They regulate everything from identification requirements at the
pools to the weight limit of hauling milk.
Here is a breakdown of some of the 26 laws that took effect on January
1, 2018, in the Lone Star State:
Revamped voter identification laws – SB 5 sets to revamp the voting ID process after a federal court
ruled that Texas’ voting laws discriminated against minorities.
Those who have a “reasonable impediment” to obtaining a photo
ID may verify their identity through utility bills, paychecks, and bank
statements. If a voter is found to be lying about not having a photo ID,
they may be charged with a state jail felony. Those who refuse to accept
a qualified voter faces stronger penalties.
Change in odometer reading requirement – The next time ownership of a vehicle is transferred, the requirement
for an odometer reading may be simpler under SB 1062. The bill allows
the state to accept an electronic copy of forms necessary for transfer
to speed up the process. Mailing a carbon copy paper form often delays
the ownership transfer process.
ID needed for credit and debit card purchases – SB 1381 allows merchants to require photo ID for credit/debit purchases
and gives them the ability to deny the transaction if no ID is available.
Hauling milk – SB 1383 increases the amount of milk that can be hauled by the
truck—specifically 90,000 pounds of the product. The former law
caps milk transports at 80,000 pounds.
Free 3-D mammograms – HB 1036 means that women in Texas soon will no longer be asked
to pay an extra charge to have a 3-D mammogram when they go to their annual
mammogram. A new law that went into effect September 1st but applies to insurance plans that go into effect or are renewed after January 1st requires commercial health insurance providers in Texas to cover the cost
of 3-D mammograms, as opposed to traditional 2-D mammograms that have
been offered for years.
Prepaid calling cards and taxes – The franchise tax no longer applies to merchants who sell prepaid
telephone cards according to HB 2126.
Appraisal protests – SB 1767 guarantees the opportunity for property owners to respond
to an increased appraisal after a protest. In the past, once protests
result in appraisals going up, the appraisal is final and there is no
chance to protest the new value.
For more information about the all 2018 Texas laws,
contact our Bryan and College Station, TX criminal defense lawyer at The
Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today.