Texas Sees the Implementation of Twenty-Four New Bills As Of January 1, 2022 It’s been a busy time for Texas lawmakers, with two dozen new laws that took effect last week. While these were all passed during the regular session, and most deal with tax requirements and exemptions, there are some that are particularly actionable for particular populations. Whether you are a disabled veteran, a charitable organization, a website owner, or a backyard chicken keeper, there may be something for you in 2022’s new laws. HB 115 – Revised Eligibility Requirements For Properties Owned By Charitable Organizations House Bill 115 amended the Tax Code and revised eligibility requirements for properties owned by charitable organizations, specifically those properties used to house and service the homeless population. It also removes the requirement that properties must be located on a single campus but added the requirement that all housing offered must be considered permanent housing. HB 531 – Floodplain Notice Requirements for Landlords House Bill 531 amended the Property Code and requires all landlords owning property in 100-year floodplains to provide written notice of the fact to any potential tenants and advise the tenant if the property has experienced flooding within the past five years. If a landlord does not provide this information and the tenant suffers significant loss in a flood on the property, the tenant has the right to terminate the lease. HB 1197 – Extended Tax Breaks for Churches House Bill 1197 amended the Tax Code to increase the time that property used for worship owned by a religious organization can be exempted from paying property taxes from six to 10 years. HB 1445 – Dental and Medical Billing Services House Bill 1445 amended the tax code to exclude dental or medical billing services before the submission of an insurance claim for services that are subject to sales and use taxes. HB 1689 – Amendments to Insurance Code Regarding Reinsurance House Bill 1689 amended the Insurance Code regarding reinsurance under the Dodd-Frank Act. It requires that credit be allowed when reinsurance is surrendered to an insurer in a reciprocating jurisdiction. The insurance commissioner is required to publish a list of reciprocal jurisdictions and assuming insurers who satisfy the necessary conditions for that credit. When an insurer ceases to meet those requirements, that insurer’s eligibility can be revoked or suspended. HB 2237 – Updates Regarding Mechanic Liens House Bill 2237 amended both the Insurance and Property Codes to update their provisions concerning contractor’s, mechanic’s, and materialman’s liens, including revising deadlines to file a claim, time limits to bring suit to foreclose on a lien, and deadlines for notices for particular claims. It further clarifies, revises, and expands definitions of some terms and lien rights, requirements, and objectives. HB 2535 – Amendments to Appraisal Standards House Bill 2535 amended the Tax Code and requires the appraiser who determines the market value of real property to analyze and exclude the value of animal out structures such as pens and coops that are used in noncommercial personal food production. HB 2730 – Eminent Domain Amendments House Bill 2730 amends the Property Code in a number of ways related to matters of eminent domain regarding pipeline and electric right-of-way easements. It revises provisions concerning the appointment of special commissioners in an eminent domain case, setting a deadline for that appointment, and a provision for alternates. It further amends the Government Code to require that the landowner’s bill of rights include a statement notifying a property owner of his or her right to file a complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission concerning misconduct by an easement or right-of-way agent on behalf of an eminent domain authority. Bill 2730 further amends the Real Estate License Act, Occupations Code with regard to a certificate of registration for an easement or right-of-way agent to
  • Require the TREC to approve the coursework completed for issuance or renewal of a certificate
  • Authorize the TREC to issue a probationary certificate
  • Authorize the TREC to suspend or revoke a certificate if the holder accepts financial incentive to accept compensation for the property that is too low
HB 3131 – Certificate of Formation Amendments House Bill 3131 amends the Business Organization Code requiring that a certificate of formation include the mailing address for various business entities such as a domestic partnerships, limited partnerships, LLCs, professional associations, cooperatives, or real estate investment trusts. HB 3177 – Elimination of “Double Dip” Franchise Tax House Bill 3777 amended the Tax Code to ensure that federal income tax and franchise tax-exempted expenditures by a nonprofit corporation to rehabilitate a property leased to a tax-exempt property in a disqualified lease are not ones that are eligible for a franchise tax credit for an historic structure rehabilitation. HB 3788 – Allow Remote Training for Appraisal Review Board House Bill 3788 amended the Tax Code to allow appraisal review board members to complete training and continuing education remotely. HB 3961 – Requiring Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities to Post Certain Information House Bill 3961 amended the Health and Safety Code, now requiring that any licensed assisted living, nursing, or other long-term care facility providing care to those assisted by the state’s long-term care ombudsman to post that information on their website, their role in advocating for residents, and include their toll-free number. HB 3971 – Amend Appraisal Standards To Include Decrease In Value From Historic District Restrictions House Bill 3971 amended the Tax Code and requires that a chief appraiser determining the market value of property within a historic district for property tax purposes to consider the effect of any restrictions that are placed on the owner by that designation regarding their ability to alter, repair, or improve the property. HB 4638 – Amendments to Special District Local Laws House Bill 4638 amended the Special District Local Laws Code to create municipal management districts, provide authority to issue bonds, and impose assessments, fees, and taxes. SB 23 – Require Voter Approval Before Defunding Police Senate Bill 31 amended the Local Government Code to require voter approval in counties with a population exceeding one million before reducing or reallocating resources for law enforcement agencies. Anyone who believes that they reside in a county that fits that criteria and the county has reduced or reallocated funds can file a complaint with the criminal justice system of the governor’s office. SB 41 – Amendments Regarding Civil Court Fees Senate Bill 41 amended several codes concerning civil court fees and the collection of fees payable to the local government in civil cases. SB 43 – Amendments To Wrap Mortgage Regulations Senate Bill 43 amended the Finance Code to regulate wrap mortgage loan origination. It also enacted licensing and registration requirements and authorized administrative penalties. SB 792 – Disabled Veterans’ License Plates and Parking Senate Bill 792 amended the Transportation Code to enable disabled veterans to receive specific specialty license plates and revised parking restrictions to recipients of those plates. SB 794 – Property Tax Exemption For Disabled Veterans Senate Bill 794 amended the Tax Code to clarify the eligibility of property tax exemption for disabled veterans. SB 855 – Website Operators Must Disclose True Owner Of Audiovisual Or Commercial Recordings Senate Bill 855 amended the Business & Commerce Code to require website owners or operators who use third-party audiovisual or commercial recordings to disclose the true owner of those recordings. Non-disclosure can result in action against the site owner or operator. SB 911 – Regulation of Food Delivery Businesses Senate Bill 911 amended the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Business & Commerce Code, and Local Government Code to regulate food delivery businesses, requiring proper permits and licensing. SB 1280 – Removal of Certain Securities Violations Senate Bill 1280 amended The Securities Act, Government Code to remove certain securities violations. SB 1449 – Modify Property Tax Exemptions For Income-Producing Properties Senate Bill 1449 amended the Tax Code, increasing the taxable value threshold for exemption of property taxes for income-producing property. SB 1524 – Apprenticeship Pilot Program Senate Bill 1524 amended the Tax Code to establish a pilot program to benefit those who employ apprentices for at least seven months a year.   Conclusion Last September saw an influx of laws regarding many high-profile and volatile issues, but this last set of laws seems sleepy in comparison, affecting far smaller demographics. But if you are a disabled veteran, a food delivery service, or even a backyard chicken keeper, they may have an affect on your life and it will behoove you to pay attention since they have all gone into effect as of January 1, 2022.