Texas Legislature’s 2019 session in review

The 86th Texas Legislature considered a variety of proposals during its biennial session in 2019. Among the major bills enacted were those that revised the property tax system and the school finance system, addressed state and local disaster response and recovery efforts, and revised state policies on mental health and school safety.

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Summaries of some of the session’s major issues — including both bills that were enacted and those that failed to become law — are available in the House Research Organization’s latest focus report, Major Issues of the 86th Legislature. The report includes a digest of each bill, as well as supporting and opposing arguments offered during consideration of the legislation.

The Legislature also approved 10 resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution. All except Proposition 1 were approved by voters in the Nov. 5, 2019 election. More information is available in the HRO report, Constitutional amendments proposed for November 2019 ballot

Members filed 7,324 bills and sent 1,429 to the governor for approval. Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 56 bills, including measures that addressed guardianship, municipal annexation, contracting, and game room regulation, among others. Information about vetoed bills is available in the HRO report Vetoes of Legislation, 86th Legislature.

By Janet Elliott

Posted in General Government | Tagged

New law prevents sale of certain cough medicine to minors

A new Texas law, HB 1518 by Coleman, prohibits businesses from selling certain over-the-counter medicines to minors. Supporters say the goal of the legislation is to prevent teens from using cough medicine as a gateway drug to more dangerous substances.

The new law prohibits the sale to minors of over-the-counter medicines containing dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant found in drugs like Mucinex, NyQuil, and Robitussin. Supporters cite a study conducted in 2018 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that found one in 30 teens abuse over-the-counter cough medicine containing dextromethorphan. Continue reading

Posted in Public Health | Tagged

Hazing law now includes coerced over-consumption of alcohol

A Texas law that took effect September 1 makes it a crime under the state’s hazing law to coerce a student to consume a drug or to consume an alcoholic beverage in an amount that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the student was intoxicated. Supporters of the law, enacted as SB 38 by Zaffirini, said it addresses one of the most deadly forms of hazing. Continue reading

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Proposed constitutional amendments to go before voters

Voters will consider 10 propositions to amend the Texas Constitution in the election on Tuesday, November 5. The propositions were approved for the ballot by the 86th Legislature earlier this year. Continue reading

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Texas to study additional fees on electric and hybrid vehicles

Electric and hybrid vehicles, also known as alternatively fueled vehicles (AFVs), will be studied in Texas this interim. Under a new law, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) and other agencies are directed to study the impact on the state of the AFV industry, options for collecting fees from AFV owners, and the feasibility of such fees. The study was required under SB 604 by Buckingham, the bill enacted by the 86th Legislature that extended TxDMV another 12 years. The vehicle study and any legislative recommendations are due to the governor, lieutenant governor, House speaker, and Legislature by December 1, 2020. Continue reading

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