As Texas heads into a new legislative session in 2023, laws passed and signed in 2021 officially went into effect on the first day of the year.
The new laws include an overhaul of the state’s judicial branch, air pollution rules and key property tax code revisions.
Property tax code revisions
According to our partners at the Houston Chronicle, SB 12 restricts the ability of public school districts to levy property taxes, especially on the elderly or disabled.
The bill has a provision that will provide funds for districts facing budget shortfalls as a result of the forthcoming property tax reductions.
Another bill affecting public school funding — HB 1525 — restricts how local school districts can generate revenue from property taxes.
Judicial branch overhaul
The bill reshaping Texas’ judicial branch of government, HB 3774, allows the public to access the state’s court document database — though they must first receive authorization from the Texas Supreme Court.
It will also restructure the state’s court system by creating 10 district courts, five statutory county courts, one statutory probate court and one criminal law magistrate court.
The bill’s other notable changes include granting magistrates of certain counties jurisdiction in criminal actions and revisions to procedures for the transfer of cases between courts, including standardization of documents used to transfer cases between courts, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Air pollution rules
SB 1210 stops local building codes from prohibiting the use of a “substitute refrigerant authorized pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 7671k” — referring to the federal Clean Air Act.
In other words, the bill says building codes can’t impose restrictions stopping builders from using a substitute refrigerant authorized by the federal government’s Clean Air Act.