New year brings new laws in Texas

Two dozen new laws went into effect in the state of Texas on Wednesday. (File)
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Killeen, Texas (KWTX) Two dozen new laws went into effect in the state of Texas on Wednesday.

They address certain issues from property taxes to prison inmates.

All of these new laws were passed during the 86th legislative session in 2019.

Inmate paperwork: Inmates released from prison will get assistance from the prison system after Jan. 1.

They’ll be released with documents needed to help them find a job, including certificates highlighting training they’ve completed and job skills courses taken.

Under House Bill 918, anyone without access to their Social Security card or birth certificate will get help in getting those documents.

Homeowner tax exemptions: First responders, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans, Texans over the age of 65 and those with disabilities are eligible for certain property tax exemptions they many not know about.

Senate Bill 2060 requires that appraisal district officials should include a short description of each exemption a person is eligible for when the appraisal notice is received.

Protections against surprise medical bills: This prevents some patients from receiving large bills when they don’t have a choice of provider. An example of this would be someone ending up in the emergency room.

Part of this law, SB 1264, already went into effect. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation will investigate complaints. A complaint may be filed online with the state agency for anyone who believes a health care provider committed a balance billing-related violation.

Protecting tax reductions: This law, HB 1313, states that any homeowner who successfully protests their home value should not see their value increased to the previous level the following year unless appraisers can present “clear and convincing evidence” that the increase is merited.

Late mortgage payments:If the bill isn’t paid on time, homeowners with mortgages set up so the lender pays the tax bill every year can still be held liable.

Costly penalties and interest could happen if the mortgage lender, typically a bank, makes a mistake or error.

HB 1885 allows interest and penalties to be waived for homeowners in cases when the bank holding the mortgage didn’t pay the tax bill on time.

Parking permits: Under HB 1002, landlords who provide parking permits to tenants will have to make sure those permits match the time frame of the lease. The landlord cannot reclaim the permit until the last day the tenant has a right to be on the property.

Defense contractors: For Federal aerospace defense contractors, they will now have the ability to take a deduction on direct manufacturing costs or employee/contractor direct compensation.

The full list of laws can be found at the following link: https://lrl.texas.gov/sessions/effDates/billsEffective86.cfm