Texas

Three new Texas laws just went into effect

Texas welcomed the new year with several new laws that went into effect Jan. 1, including an overhaul of the property tax collection process, an expansion of the judiciary, and an amendment to pollution standards.

District 67 Representative and Plano native Jeff Leach is the author of House Bill 3774, one of the laws that went into effect in January 2023. The Consolidated Law, passed in September 2021, includes several reforms that have changed the state’s judiciary.

One of the bill’s highlights concerns public access to the state’s court records database—any member of the public will have access to the database, provided the request is approved by the Texas Supreme Court. In addition, the bill would restructure the Texas court system by adding 10 county courts, five statutory circuit courts, one statutory probate court, and one magistrate criminal court. Other notable changes include granting magistrates in some districts jurisdiction in criminal cases, revising procedures for transferring cases between courts, and standardizing the process.

Senate Bill 12, written by Senator Paul Betancourt, amends the tax code to restrict public school districts from collecting nursing or disabled homes. According to Texas Tribunethe law makes counties eligible for additional public assistance to prevent a sharp decline in income.

The third bill, which will go into effect January 1, is Senate Bill 1210, introduced by Senator Nathan Johnson and Betancourt. The new law aims to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, chemical compounds of hydrogen, carbon and fluorine, pollutants that deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming, by requiring building codes to allow the use of refrigerants that meet the federal clean air standard. Act.

The bill was supported by both the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and major Texas manufacturers such as Goodman and Chemour, according to an analysis of the bill by the Senate Research Center. The analysis also suggests that the transition will create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs while maintaining 138,000 existing manufacturing jobs across the country. “Most of these jobs will be in Texas, which is already a major manufacturing hub for these products,” the analysis adds.

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