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.
- ID needed for credit and debit card purchases – SB 1381 enables merchants to ask for photo ID if someone wants to make a purchase with a credit or debit card.
- Hauling milk – SB 1383 increases how much milk a truck can carry—specifically 90,000 pounds of the product. Before the limit was 80,000 pounds.
- Free 3-D mammograms – HB 1036 means that Texas women soon will not be required 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 after January 1st requires costs of 3-D mammograms be covered.
- Prepaid calling cards and taxes – According to HB 2126, sellers of prepaid credit cards no longer have to adhere to the franchise tax.
- 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.