New Texas Laws Take Effect in 2024

in Local Roundup

Many bills passed during the 88th legislative session, from the regular session in spring to several subsequent special monthlong sessions, will go into effect starting January 1, 2024.

Here’s a review of some of them:

Diversity, equity, and inclusion ban at Texas colleges: A state ban on programs and policies “designed or implemented in reference to race, color, or ethnicity” at Texas public universities and colleges will begin Jan. 1, with institutions of higher education no longer being able to have diversity, equity, and inclusion offices or initiatives.

Texas University Fund: The constitutional amendment gives millions of dollars to support research at state universities. With the constitutional amendment approved, House Bill 1595 renames the National Research University Fund to the Texas University Fund (TUF). The bill would establish Texas State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, and the University of North Texas as general academic teaching institutions eligible to receive distributions from TUF for each fiscal year.

Limits on Property Appraisal Increases: The bill permanently raises of the homestead exemption on local school taxes from $40,000 to $100,000 per year, and went into effect immediately after it was approved by Texas voters, but Article 4 of the bill goes into effect on Jan. 1. Article 4 of the bill limits appraisal value increases for non-homesteaded properties valued at less than $5 million to 20 percent per year. That means if your property was valued at 100,000 last year and is appraised at $125,000 this year, your taxes will be based on a value of $120,000.Homestead properties still have a 10 percent appraised value cap.

Appraisal District Online Database: The bill requires the chief appraiser of each appraisal district to create, maintain, and annually update a searchable Internet database containing information about protest hearings, including the determination of the protest.

Texas franchise tax exemption doubles: As part of an omnibus property tax relief package the Legislature approved during its second special session over the summer, SB 3 will afford nearly 70,000 businesses in Texas a total exemption from the state’s franchise tax.

Youth diversion program: The Texas Youth Diversion and Early Intervention Act grants judges the authority to wave youth’s penalties for Class C misdemeanors in favor of the new intervention program, which allows local governments to implement a series of steps ranging from rehabilitation services, alcohol and drug awareness programs, job trainings and self-improvement programs.

Penalties for e-cigarette advertising to minors: The bill creates a Class B misdemeanor for e-cigarette ads or packaging created to market the product to minors.

Texas, Our Texas’ license plates up for grabs: The “Texas, Our Texas” license plates issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles will include the song’s namesake as well as honor the 100th birthday of the tune with the dates 1924-2024.

Cost-of-living adjustment for Texas Teacher Retirement System: The bill gives members of the Texas Teacher Retirement System a cost-of-living adjustment. Proposition 9 authorizes a one-time COLA between 2% and 6%, depending on when the teacher retired. Retired teachers haven’t received a COLA since 2013.

Property owners’ association fines: The bill requires a property owners’ association board to adopt an enforcement policy regarding the levying of fines by the association. The policy must include general categories of restrictive covenants for which the association may assess fines, a schedule of fines for each category of violation, and information regarding hearings.

To read all of them, visit this page.

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