Cybersecdn- January 2024 marks a significant shift in Texas legislation with the introduction of 30 new state laws. These changes are set to have a considerable impact on various aspects of life in Texas.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Programs: A major change is coming to publicly funded colleges and universities in Texas. The new law prohibits these institutions from operating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices. Existing DEI offices will need to be disbanded, and staff reassigned.
Additionally, DEI training and ideological oaths will no longer be a requirement, and contractors cannot perform these duties. Compliance with this law will be monitored through mandatory testimonies by administrators before state legislative committees. However, this change does not affect student recruitment or admissions.
Property Tax Relief: In a move to alleviate financial burdens, the franchise tax exemption is set to double to nearly $2.5 million. This change, part of a larger $18 billion property tax relief bill, means that around 67,000 small and medium-sized businesses will be exempt from paying the franchise tax. Consequently, these businesses will also be relieved from filing franchise tax returns.
E-cigarettes and Marketing to Minors: The state is cracking down on the marketing of E-cigarettes to minors. It will now be a class “B” misdemeanor to market, advertise, or sell e-cigarette products to children using cartoon-like characters, celebrities, or images of candy or juice. This law aims to curb the appeal of these products to a younger demographic.
Homeowners Associations (HOAs): Property owners’ associations are required to adopt clear and transparent policies regarding fines and other violations against owners. These policies must be communicated to property owners and posted on the associations’ websites, ensuring greater transparency and accountability.
Identifying At-risk Children: To better support troubled and at-risk children, a new law allows local governments to adopt youth diversion plans early in misdemeanor cases. This is a shift from the existing law, which permits diversion programs only post-conviction or deferral.
These legislative changes are indicative of Texas’ evolving legal and social landscape, reflecting the state’s approach to education, business, public health, property management, and child welfare.