Top 9 Most Important New Laws of Texas Taking Effect In 2024
Top 9 Most Important New Laws Taking Effect In Texas 2024

The year 2024 brought with it a plethora of new state legislation pertaining to gender transition care, guns, and the minimum wage. Programs that encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion at publicly supported colleges and universities in Texas are prohibited, which is arguably the biggest difference.

Top 9 Most Important New Laws Taking Effect In Texas 2024

1. Finance and Management of Education

Texas's public higher education institutions are prohibited from implementing DEI projects by SB 17. The establishment of DEI offices is forbidden by law, and employment procedures are governed. Institutions need to make sure that merit-based hiring is followed and change their rules. To keep access to monies that have been appropriated by the state, they also need to produce a compliance report. This bill essentially penalizes organizations who give DEI values priority.

$3.5 million from the State budget is set aside by HB 1595 to fund research projects at research institutes. The measure permits academic freedom and the unrestricted pursuit of research initiatives by not specifying the sort of research.

SB 10 gives retired teachers cost-of-living adjustments. A one-time payment will be given to retired teachers; the amount will depend on the instructors' age and retirement status.

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2. Inclusion, equity, and diversity

During the summer legislative session, Texas Republicans specifically targeted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts by enacting a state-wide prohibition on DEI activities at all public colleges and higher education institutions in Texas. "Promoting policies or procedures designed or implemented in reference to race, color, or ethnicity" is prohibited under SB17 for public colleges and universities. It also prohibits the establishment or upkeep of a diversity, equity, and inclusion office at these institutions.

Prior to going into effect on January 1, SB 17 generated headlines. The recruiting and recruitment of renowned University of Texas journalism professor Dr. Kathleen McElroy was handled so badly that Texas A&M University found itself embroiled in a nationwide scandal this summer. The admissions process collapsed after A&M system regents voiced concerns with McElroy's public attention to racial and gender issues—a craze McElroy called "DEI hysteria." Before SB17 even went into force, the A&M system reviewed its colleges to make sure they were in conformity, which is why there was controversy around McElroy's hiring process.

3. Fiscal Policy and Property Taxation

The goal of HB 5 is to entice company and property owners to make financial investments in Texas. School districts would be able to offer complete property tax discounts to companies who relocate to the state under this economic incentive scheme. Additionally, it would encourage employment growth across the state. A lot of debate surrounded HB 5 in the state assembly. Its focus on tax benefits for companies that contribute to Texas's state budget caused controversy.

A property tax relief program under the public school finance system is known as SB 2, 88th 2nd C.S. There are several sections in this law, and they all start at different times. The implementation of the measures is reliant on the voters' ratification of HJR 2.

Child care providers around the state can receive financial support thanks to SB 1145. If subsidies are used to pay for the children in their care, it offers a tax cut of more than 20%. The rising costs of child care and the real estate needed to deliver it are resolved by this bill. SB 1145 keeps daycare centers open while still saving money for families.

SB 1612 does away with juvenile court costs. The burden of the criminal justice system on young offenders is lessened by this bill. It enables young offenders to transition into adulthood free from the burden of unpaid criminal justice costs.

The Parks and Wildlife Code is amended by SB 1648. It gives the Texas Parks and Wildlife Departments permission to manage funding for park upkeep. The Departments may also enhance state parks and purchase more land covered by parks.

Medical manufacturers are granted exemptions from taxes under SB 2289. Manufacturers of medical and biological goods are free from paying ad valorem taxes on their inventory and equipment.

4. Public Services and Infrastructure

The creation and financing of broadband and telecommunications services are topics covered under HB 9. The bill was prompted by Texas's recent infrastructural shortcomings during the previous two years. In Texas, there are about 7 million people without access to a dependable internet connection. A public vote in the next election will decide implementation.

The Texas senators unanimously approved SB 28. It permits the state to allocate funds for the purchase of fresh water sources. The purpose of this measure is to update the state's outdated water infrastructure. It also helps to finance upcoming water-related initiatives.

SB 604 was supported by the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL). North American landmen can join the voluntary Professional Association of Landmen (AAPL). Landmen work in the area of energy, minerals, oil, and gas that is visible to the general population.

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5. Online Database for Appraisal Districts

According to House Bill 796, which changes the Tax Code, each appraisal district's chief appraiser is required to establish, manage, and update a searchable online database with details on protest hearings, including the protest's determination.

6. Marketing of E-Cigarettes

There are upcoming regulations that will alter the marketing of electronic cigarettes.

House Bill 4758 designates as a Class B misdemeanor any marketing, advertising, selling, or inducing to be marketed an electronic cigarette product in specific containers that are intended to appeal to children, including any material containing nicotine from any source.

7. Identifying kids who are at danger

There will be additional chances to identify problematic and at-risk kids thanks to another new law. The state now permits local governments to create a juvenile diversion plan that starts the case with a range of services when minors are charged with class "C" offenses. Judges and municipal courts are only permitted by current law to mandate diversion programs following a child's conviction or deferment.

8. Relief from Property Taxes

The franchise tax exemption will increase to about $2.5 million as part of the $18 billion property tax relief plan that was passed earlier this year. Consequently, 67,000 small and medium-sized enterprises will no longer be required to file a franchise tax return or pay the franchise tax.

9. State Song License Plate

On Texas roadways, you might soon notice some new license plates.

The transportation code is amended by House Bill 2323 to permit the production of specialty license plates honoring the centennial of the composition of the state hymn, "Texas, Our Texas."

In summary

Texas's recently passed legislation takes a broad approach to a variety of public concerns. This covers public services, infrastructure development, and property taxes. Texas's emphasis on property rights and economic development is reflected in these policies. Texans may expect major changes that will impact the future of their communities once these laws go into force.

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