lady justice statue with 2022 next to it

New Year, 23 New Laws: Part One

Traditionally, the ringing in of the new year signifies a change, a new beginning for many Americans. And in 2022, this change will “ring” true for many citizens throughout Texas, as January 1, 2022, will bring about 23 new laws, effectively changing their day-to-day lives. From nonprofit organizations and tax exemptions to chicken coops and floodplains, the new laws of 2022 cover a variety of topics. First, let’s cover the fourteen House introduced (HB) bills:

HB 115: Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain property owned by a charitable organization and used in providing housing and related services to certain homeless individuals.

This law will provide an exemption from taxes for charitable organizations that provide housing and related services for the homeless. The exemption will only apply to organizations that fall into certain restrictions such as years in existence as related to its location, whether it provides permanent housing and the population of the county in which it resides in. Learn More

HB 531: Relating to notice requirements for a leased dwelling located in a floodplain.

This law will require landlords to inform their tenants if the property they are leasing is located in a 100-year floodplain – an area of land designated as a flood hazard area with a one percent or greater chance of flooding each year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. This bill provides the tenant the right to terminate the lease if the landlord does not provide these notices at or before the execution of the lease. Learn More

HB 1197: Relating to the period for which certain land owned by a religious organization for the purpose of expanding a place of religious worship or constructing a new place of religious worship may be exempted from ad valorem taxation.

This amendment to the Tax Code adjusts the period of tax exemption based on whether a religious organization’s expansion occurs on contiguous land (sharing a common border). It goes into further detail as to what constitutes as contiguous land. Learn More

HB1445: Relating to the applicability of the sales and use tax to medical or dental billing services.

Earlier this year, it was determined that preparation of an insurance claim, prior to its submission, is considered part of the insurance claim process. Therefore, it was concluded that since medical billing services fall into this, they are taxable. The purpose for this law is to exclude from taxation any medical or dental billing services that take place before the submission of a claim. Learn More

HB 1689: Relating to credit for reinsurance governed by certain covered agreements and ceded to certain assuming insurers.

The primary purpose behind HB 1689 is to amend the Tax Code so that it better falls in line with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which gave the federal government authority to enter into “covered agreements” with foreign governments, allowing the preemption (ability to invalidate a state law that conflicts with a federal one) of any state laws that aim to treat a foreign insurer different than a domestic one. To avoid federal preemption, HB 1689 adds additional conditions to when credit is to be allowed when reinsurance is ceded to an assuming insurer. Learn More

HB 2237: Relating to mechanic’s, contractor’s, or materialman’s liens.

This law pertains to lien rights, rights given to mechanics, contractors, or materialmen in the event they are not paid. Specifically, HB 2237 amends the Property Code so that it is easier to understand by updating definitions, reducing any redundancy, and clarifying certain sections. Learn More

HB 2535: Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of real property that includes certain improvements used for the non-commercial production of food for personal consumption.

This law, an amendment to the Tax Code, will now allow an exemption for chicken coops and rabbit pens – as long as they are for noncommercial food production for personal use – when determining the market value for real property. Learn More

HB 2730: Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority and the regulation of easement or right-of-way agents.

Amendments made to the Property Code, Government Code, and Occupations Code, HB2730 makes revisions relating to eminent domain (entity’s ability to take private land for public use) and the regulation of easement/right-of-way agents. This was primarily done in order to better clarify what rights landowner’s have and revise the criteria required regarding eminent domain. Learn More

HB 3131: Relating to the information required to be included in the certificate of formation of a filing entity.

HB3131 is an amendment to the Business Organizations Code that now requires the entity filing for certificate of formation to include the initial mailing address of the filing entity. Learn More

HB 3777: Relating to eligible costs and expenses for purposes of the franchise tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

Amending the Tax Code, HB 3777 closes a previously created loophole that allowed for the inappropriate use of the franchise tax credit. The law describes what constitutes as costs and expenses for the purpose of credit. Learn More

HB 3788: Relating to the training and education of appraisal review board members.

This law amends the Tax Code to include the option for distance learning regarding the training of appraisal review board members. Previously, any training had to take place in person. Learn More

HB 3961: Relating to required posting of information regarding the office of the state long-term care ombudsman on certain long-term care facilities’ Internet websites.

HB3961 amends the Health and Safety Code to include the requirement that a long-term care facility – the law also goes into what constitutes as a long-term care facility – must post information about the office of the ombudsman (advocate for the residents) on their website. This includes the contact information and information regarding its role. The only exception to this is if neither the facility nor the parent company has a website. Learn More

HB 3971: Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of residential real property located in a designated historic district.

This amendment to the Tax Code better defines what constitutes a “designated historic district.” More importantly, it requires that, when determining the market value of a residential real property located within a designated historical district, the chief appraiser must now account for restrictions by the historic district that limit the property owner’s ability to alter, improve, or repair the property. Learn More

HB 4638: Relating to the creation of certain municipal management districts; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose assessments, fees, and taxes.

HB 4638 amends the Special District Local Laws Code, creating the Leander Municipal Management District No. 1and the New Waverly Municipal Management District No.1. This amendment goes over the purpose, authority, and composition of the newly created districts. Learn More

In part two, we will be going over the remaining nine bills, introduced in the Senate.

If you have a case, contact our firm today for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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