As the New Year official arrives, a large batch of laws is set to take effect in 2018. The 26 laws range from revamped voter ID law to property owner rights in appraisals.
The following is a breakdown of several new laws going into effect this January:
- Voter ID Changes – SB 5 provides voters with more options to obtain required forms of ID. This bill comes on the heels of a ruling from a federal court that said Texas’ previous requirements for voter identification at the polls discriminates against black and Latino voters. Now anyone who has a “reasonable impediment” to getting a photo ID may show an alternate form of ID, such as a paycheck stub or bank statement, to vote. Lying about the photo ID and then using one of the new alternates to vote is considered a state jail felony offense.
- ID requirements for credit and debit card users – SB 1381 allows retailers to reject any sale where shoppers cannot or will not show their photo ID. Customers must provide a government-issued photo identification which matches the name that is on the card.
- Odometer readings – SB 1062 creates an electric version of the paper form for the odometer disclosure when transferring ownership of a motor vehicle, speeding up the process for both vehicle owners and insurance companies.
- Property tax appraisals – SB 1767 will ensure property owners who see their value increase during the protest process will be able to respond. Before, the rise would have been final and property owners are not able to protest it.
- Milk hauling – SB138 increases the amount the tractor-trailers can carry liquid milk to up to 90,000 pounds with a permit for tandem-axle trailers. Before, the limit was 80,000 pounds. The permit costs $1,200 and the revenue will be divided among the counties where the truck would run, the DMW, and the state highway fund.
- Prepaid calling cards – HB 2126 allows retailers who mainly sell prepaid calling cards to qualify for lower franchise tax rate.