Several New Texas Laws Going Into Effect January 1

Texas State Capitol Building in Austin
Texas state capital building in Austin. | Image from dszc

Twenty-three new state laws will take effect on January 1, 2022. The Texas state legislature approved all of these laws during the regular session of the 87th Legislature that ended in May. Most of the laws deal with tax requirements and exemptions.

Here is a breakdown of a few of the laws taking effect on New Year’s Day:

Senate Bill 23 will require certain counties to hold an election before reducing the funding of the county’s primary law enforcement agency. The new law will also require an election if the county wants to reallocate funds to a different law enforcement agency. The law only applies to counties with a population of more than one million. The bill was authored by GOP legislators, who say it is in response to “defund the police” demands.

House Bill 115 will exempt certain charitable organizations from all property taxes if their charity’s purpose is to provide housing and other services to people experiencing homelessness. To be eligible for the tax exemption, the charitable organization must provide permanent housing and must have existed for twenty years if it is based in a county, or two years if it is based in a city or town.

Senate Bill 794 will exempt veterans from all homestead taxes if they are classified as 100% disabled by the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

Senate Bill 911 will allow establishments that hold alcoholic beverage permits to be granted food and beverage permits if alcohol sales are 60% or less of the establishment’s total sales. The intended aim of this law is to make requirements for third-party delivery services clearer and to help restaurants recover from low sales due to the pandemic.

House Bill 1197 will increase the period that land owned by religious organizations is exempted from property taxes from six years to ten years. The land must be attached to the religious organization’s primary place of worship to be exempt. The authors of the bill state that this law’s intended goal is to alleviate financial burdens on smaller congregations.

House Bill 3961 will require certain long-term care facilities to maintain information about the state’s Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman on their website. According to the Texas Health and Human Services website, that office “advocates for resident rights” and “helps protect the quality of life and quality of care of anybody who lives in a nursing home or an assisted living facility.”

The complete list of laws taking effect on January 1, 2022, can be found here.

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